Summer driving can spell disaster for a neglected vehicle. It wouldn’t be Summer without an extended driving trip or the weekend getaway – but these trips can spell disaster if your car isn’t equipped for the journey. With heat-spells now hitting much of the western United States, this means that vehicles on the road are being pushed to their limits. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true for your vehicle. A little maintenance and preparation will ensure your Summer driving and road-trips will be a success.
Preventative Maintenance and Checking
Nothing can ruin your Summer traveling quicker than car problems. There are a few do-it-yourself checks you can perform before any road-trip or hot weather driving adventure. These tips can save you time and money, and keep your BMW or Mini performing properly.
Getting out that vehicle owners manual (the one in the glove box) and getting acquainted with the basic workings of your vehicle’s mechanical systems is a good thing to do. In the event of an emergency you’ll have some basic knowledge that can keep you prepared and ready in the event you need to do some quick diagnosis. It’s wishful thinking you’ll always have an expert moments away – sometimes when traveling cross-country it comes down to what you can do.
Pre Road-Trip Summer Vehicle Checklist
- Tire Pressure and Wear – If you’re not seeing much tread left on your tires, or they appear to be wearing unevenly; it’s time to have a professional take a look and likely replace them. Even if your tires look like they have sufficient air, you never know for certain unless you check the pressure. Refer to your vehicle’s manual on your proper tire pressure for your tire. This is easy to do and ensures you’re getting the most out of your tires and your vehicles traction/braking performance.
- Battery – it’s difficult to know your battery’s charge and capacity without having it professionally tested, but there are some indicators you’ll notice. When you start the cart does it sound like it’s struggling to turn-over? The first signs of a tired battery are signs that it’s struggling to turn the engine over with vigor. If you have any sense of this, it’s probably time for a replacement.
- Oil Level – don”t be intimidated by this, it’s generally quite easy. Refer to your manual for details on accessing your dipstick, but a quick verification of your engine’s oil level could save you thousands in repair costs. Adding oil is easily done as well, but be certain you’re using the correct oil weight.
- Coolant Level – having a properly working cooling system is vital in Summer weather. Checking your coolant level using the tank/gauge under the hood is generally all you need to do. If it’s dipped below the “Low” level, it’s time to add more. Refer to your manual on the proper coolant and water mixture. Also note the type of water suggested. Tap water because of it’s minerals is a no-go. Most manufacturers recommend distilled water which can be found at most grocery stores.
- Air Filter – a clogged air filter can not only hurt your engines performance, it can cause costly fuel consumption inefficiency. Taking the time to remove and change a dirty filter is a must-do.
- Belts & Hoses – a quick visual inspection is all that’s needed. If you see any rubber deterioration or cracking, it’s time to have a professional look at it more closely.
- Brake System – giving your brakes a good test and visually inspecting the brake fluid level is all that’s needed here. If you sense any reduction in braking functionality, e.g. a mushy brake pedal, or increased stopping distance – you need to have a professional take a look. Under the hood, the brake fluid reservoir will tell you if you’re running low on fluid. Refer to your manual on the type of brake fluid your vehicle uses and if you decide to top-off yourself be careful! Most brake fluids are corrosive to metal and paint – so don’t spill.
If you don’t feel comfortable performing a basic inspection of your vehicle, don’t fret! That’s what North Bay Bavarian is here for. Having qualified the BMW and Mini technicians at North Bay Bavarian inspect, monitor and maintain your vehicle’s condition is generally the easiest and best method of servicing a vehicle. We can help prepare and plan ahead for the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance intervals and make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape for your Summer driving and road-trips.
For your BMW and Mini maintenance and Summer driving preparation, there is no better option than North Bay Bavarian
Give us a call at (707)545-0820 to schedule your next appointment!