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Vehicle Maintenance for Summer Road Conditions

Summer is a time of year when many Iowa families load up the car or motor home and hit the road.

Whether you’re going to visit the Buddy Holly/Richie Valens/Big Bopper crash site memorial near Clear Lake, heading to see the famed covered bridges of Madison County, or just visiting grandpa and grandma, summer weather and road conditions put particular strains on your motor vehicle. To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time out on Iowa’s roadways, it’s important that you perform the following summer maintenance procedures on your vehicle before taking a trip. Some of these procedures can easily be done by you; others require a trained automotive technician.

What You Need to Check

  • Cooling system: A major cause of breakdowns in hot weather is overheating. To avoid being stuck on the hot roadside while your vehicle belches plumes of steam, have your cooling systems flushed and refilled, and keep the ratio of antifreeze and water close to 50/50. Warning: don’t ever take a radiator cap off until the engine has completely cooled.
  • Tires: Have your tires rotated and aligned every 5,000 miles. Make sure the tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications. Unlike winter, when an underinflated tire can give you improved traction, you want your tire properly inflated in warmer weather. It is extremely important that you have enough tread on your tires. This can prevent slipping and skidding when it rains. If you’re unsure whether you have enough tread, have its depth checked by a qualified mechanic.
  • Oil: Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your owner’s manual. If you tow a boat or a trailer, you may want to change it more often, say every 3,000 miles.
  • Engine performance: Have your engine tuned up by a mechanic you trust. This will prevent breakdowns, improve performance, and increase gas mileage.
  • Air conditioning: No one wants to sit in a hot car in sweltering heat. Have your air conditioning checked before your trip to ensure that it is working at the optimal level.
  • Windshield wipers: During all seasons, keep your wiper blades fresh and your windshield washer fluid reservoirs filled. You don’t want your vision impaired by rain or dust in an unexpected summer storm.
  • Brakes: Have your brakes inspected by a qualified technician before your trip, especially if they make noises when you apply them.
  • Lights: Before hitting the road, check to make sure that all your lights are operating properly. If not, replace the bulbs. It’s also a good idea to periodically clean the dirt and insects from your lights’ lenses.
  • Battery: Have your battery checked by a professional. Extended driving and air-conditioner use can put extra strain on your vehicle’s battery.

At Iowa’s Hope Law Firm, we want you to have a safe and memorable summer. If another driver doesn’t take the traveling precautions mentioned above and causes an accident with you, please call (515) 298-5056 and speak to our skilled motor vehicle accident attorneys.