* To prevent engine overheating, summer’s number one vehicle problem, make sure your engine’s cooling system is in top shape. Flush and refill the radiator according to the service manual’s instructions. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. If you are doing your own work, make sure the engine has cooled down before removing the radiator cap.
A qualified auto technician should check the tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses. Most do-it-yourselfers do not have the proper equipment. But you can look for signs of wear, cracking or frayed belts. Have belts and hoses replaced according to the service manual’s intervals or sooner if you notice wear and tear so as to prevent sudden breakdowns.
* Have engine performance problems like hard starts, rough idling, and stalling corrected. You’ll get better gasoline mileage and you can catch minor problems before they grow into more expensive repairs later on.
* If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, look for repair facilities with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own, modern equipment in the service bays, and signs of qualified automotive technicians as evidenced by trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work and training classes, as well as national certification of the individual technicians by ASE.
* Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a qualified technician. The air conditioners on older vehicles often contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be released into the air through improper or incompetent service.
* Change the oil and oil filter as specified in your owner’s manual. (Properly dispose of used oil.) Surveys of technicians indicate that this is the most neglected service, and one that can greatly reduce the life of your vehicle. Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended in the service manual.
* Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let the tires cool down before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, cupping, vibrations, or pulling to one side indicates problems with your tires or suspension system.
* Routine brake inspection and service is important for safety and can save you money in the long run. Failure to replace worn brake pads, for example, can result in more expensive damage to rotors and wheels.
* Don’t neglect your transmission. Costly repairs can be prevented by routine service of this often-neglected system.
* For safety and convenience, inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs. Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to fight summer’s dust and insects.
Remove clutter, vacuum the carpeting, clean all windows, and wipe down headlights with a soft, damp rag to prevent scratching. Wash and wax your vehicle to remove build-up dirt and deposits, protect your vehicle’s finish and enhance its resale value.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) was founded in 1972 as a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign. Businesses with a high percentage (75 percent or more) of certified service professionals can join the prestigious Blue Seal of Recognition Program.
For a free brochure with summertime automotive tips, send a self-addressed, stamped long envelope to: ASE Summer Brochure, Dept. ARA-106, 101 Blue Seal Dr., S.E., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175, or visit www.ase.com for more information. Courtesy of ARA Content