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Preparing your car for summer: secrets and advice from Mopar

With summer approaching it is time to de-winterize the ride and prepare for fun in the sun while preventing breakdowns

Each year many drivers take great pains to prepare their car for winter. Others just replenish the Starbucks card and go for it. If you’re reading this on Torque News you likely fall in the first category or someplace in the middle. As summer approaches there are some important things you can do to make your car more reliable and more enjoyable.

Maintenance Prevents Breakdowns
Take advantage of free inspections. Many dealers and repair shops will offer a free coupon or free inspection to get you to come in and spend money on repairs. Take the free inspection, but be proactive. Speak to the service advisor and tell her you want to see all changed parts and that you want to review the service report in detail. This changes your appointment. Instead of getting the once over, you have now forced her to tell the mechanic you plan to check up on the work. Here is what you should include in the inspection even if you have to pay for it. Mopar has a detailed maintenance list here that you might also find helpful:

- Battery test. Batteries are wounded by summer heat but rarely die until the first cold day. Check it now, and if it is less than perfect, bookmark your calendar to change it in September thus extending the new batteries life a few months.

- Wiper blades. Road salt eats the rubber inserts in your wiper blades. Change them out. Be sure not to ask for “Wiper blades” or you may end up paying too much. Most designs have an inexpensive rubber insert that can be slid into place. This is a do-it-yourself job. Buy the parts at the dealer. Aftermarket blades always seem to fit a little differently.

- Fluids, belts and hoses. Coolant level, oil level, tire tread depth and pressure, belts, hoses, and brakes should always be inspected twice per year. Rotate the tires if they are due.

- AC Charge. Why not enjoy the AC to its full potential? A simple check will make sure it is in proper working condition.

- Engine air and cabin air filters. Look back at your service records and see if you will need a filter in the next few months. If so do it. If you are at all handy, try getting the parts yourself and changing them just before your appointment. You can then ask for them to be checked if you feel uncomfortable. Hint – the cabin air filter is often behind the glove box. Here is a handy link to get you started. There are often service specials for these items so search the internet before buying.

- Glass replacement. Has your windshield been struck by a stone? If the chip or small crack is in your field of view many insurance companies have to replace it. Many also have no deductible. Spring is the best time to replace a windshield because the salt and sand is gone for most of a year.

Summer Secrets
A windshield reflective screen is cheap and it will not only keep your car cooler if parked all day in the sun, it will also prolong the life of your dash and interior plastics. A can of Fix-A-Flat® in the trunk can also be handy. Write the date on it with a Sharpie and discard it annually. Place it inside a big Ziploc® bag in case of a leak. A pair of disposable rubber gloves and some Wet Ones® may speed up your clean up if that flat is on the way to a meeting. Last, put a bottle of water in the trunk with your emergency kit. If you do have trouble it will likely be on a 99 degree day. The water helps with clean up or can be an emergency drink.

A few moments of preparation in the early spring can make your summer of motoring fun much more enjoyable.