Car maintenance advice for summer driving, family vacations

car maintenanceNow that winter is behind us and the spring/summer driving season has arrived, it’s time to think about, what else, car maintenance.

OK, so that’s not what you want to think about. But doing so now can save you lots of grief later.

Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand, is offering guidance in the form of 10 tips for spring vehicle maintenance to help you ensure months of smooth travel.

“Vehicles need to be in shape for the summer travel season,” said Pat Dougherty, Vice President of Sales and Product Development at Mopar, according to Newspress USA. “Preventive maintenance keeps vehicles on the road longer and saves customers money in the long run.”

Following are Mopar’s tips on preparing for the spring/summer driving season by checking:

  • Engine belts, hoses, fuel filter: Prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage by replacing belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Checking and replacing the fuel filter ensures that the engine is running at an optimal level and maximizes fuel economy.
  • Air pressure for all tires: This includes the spare, because improper inflation leads to early wear and decreased fuel mileage. Excessive wear also may signal that other maintenance is needed.
  • Brake pads and shoes: Inspect these as well as drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and parking brake to ensure proper performance.
  • Engine oil: This should be checked regularly, changed and replenished. Low or dirty oil can affect how an engine and its components perform, especially under summer driving conditions.
  • The air filter: Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and a longer life.
  • Your vehicle’s fluids: Make sure they’re fresh and filled, checked often and changed at recommended intervals. Dirty and low fluids may affect performance and lead to breakdowns.
  • The battery: Having enough power to run air conditioning and other vehicle accessories in the summer is priceless. Look for corroded terminals and a bulging or cracked case.
  • Shocks and Struts: After the cold-weather pothole season, shocks and struts should be checked. These are vital to a smooth ride and may also affect a number of related parts on a vehicle.
  • Wiper Blades: Properly functioning wiper are critical in spring showers and summer storms.
  • Lights and turn signals: Properly functioning headlights and tail lights are crucial for safe driving, especially at night or in rainy or foggy conditions. Inspect and test all exterior lights, including turn signals and hazard lights to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment.

Mopar also provides motorists an online interactive maintenance guide to help with the checklist.

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