• Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot
weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician.
• Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is
overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and
refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and
concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A
50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) Never
remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The
tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be
checked by a pro.
• Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual -
more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts,
extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
• Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.)
as recommended - more often in dusty conditions. Get engine
drive-ability problems (hard starts, rough idling, smiling,
diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
• Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can
pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of
windshield washer solvent.
• Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check
tire pressures once a month; let the tires "cool down" first.
• Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good
condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and
cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is
warranted that if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls
to one side.
• Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual,
or sooner if you notice pulsation, grabbing, noises, or longer
stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected
• Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate
way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine
care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean
all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are
removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with
corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber
• Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs;
periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent
scratching, never use a dry rag.
• Emergencies - Carry some basic tools - ask a technician for
suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight.
Consider buying a cellular phone or CB radio.