A woman uses a long hose extender to wash her car's tires, showing you one of the ways to get your vehicle ready for summer

Summer is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to get your car back into shape after months of driving around in snow, slush, and ice. Check these to-dos off your list to get your car ready for smooth sailing all summer:

  1. Switch from snow tires to all-season or summer tires. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber so they can stay flexible in cooler temperatures, but when the weather starts warming up, they tend to wear more quickly. Once the temperature steadily hovers above 7°, it’s time to go back to your all-season or summer tires. Make sure you thoroughly inspect your all-season or summer tires before installing them. Check for nails, gouges, and use a tire gauge to measure the tread depth. If they have less than 2/32” of tread, then it’s time to replace them.
  2. Change your wiper blades. Much like winter tires, winter wiper blades are made from a different rubber than their summer counterparts, so they should be changed when the weather starts to warm up. Even if your wiper blades aren’t specifically for winter, you should inspect them and replace them if they’re no longer getting the job done.
  3. Test your AC. Not only is driving around in a car without air conditioning on a hot day uncomfortable, but driving at highway speeds with the windows down can reduce your fuel efficiency. Test out your AC and make sure it’s working properly before the weather gets too warm. If you hear strange sounds or suspect the air coming out of your vents is warmer than it should be, have the system inspected by a professional. Hot weather also means your windows will be rolled up and you’ll be relying a lot more on your AC. Consider replacing your cabin air filter so every summer drive will be a breath of fresh air.
  4. Check your brakes. Brakes can see a good deal of wear over the winter months, when traffic is much more stop-and-go than it is in the summer. Consider having your brakes inspected when you’re removing your winter tires.

    Before swapping from your winter tires to your set of summers, inspect them thoroughly for nails, gouges, or low tire tread to make sure they’re road ready.

  5. Keep your coolant cool. Check your coolant level and make sure the mixture of chemicals is correct. You can either do this yourself with a coolant tester from your local auto parts store or have it checked by a professional.
  6. Get an oil change. If you’re due for an oil change, consider getting it done when you have your snow tires removed to save yourself a trip later.
  7. Top up your windshield washer fluid. Next time your windshield washer fluid needs to be filled up, consider using a streak-free formula that targets bugs, tar, and other grime.
  8. Go for a pre-summer tune-up. Think this sounds like a lot of things to check off your list before summer rolls around? You might be surprised to find out how many of them can be taken care of in one visit to your dealership or a qualified mechanic. Ask if there’s a package deal that includes most of the items on this list, as well as fluid checks (e.g., coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid), inspections of your engine and exhaust systems, and tests for electronic components like sensors. Not only are frequent tune ups essential for the safe operation of your vehicle, but they can also help extend the life of your car.
  9. Give it a good wash. Salt and grime can build up on almost every part of your vehicle over the winter, from the undercarriage to the interior mats. Once the roads are clear, give your car a thorough spring cleaning to prevent dirt and rust build-up. Don’t forget the undercarriage, the wheel wells, the windows, and the interior mats.
  10. Swap your winter mats for summer mats. Whether you use the original mats that came with your vehicle or aftermarket upgrades, be sure to only use mats that were manufactured specifically for your vehicle. Also, make sure they’re properly secured to avoid driving mishaps. 

Not only is driving around in a car without air conditioning on a hot day uncomfortable, but driving with your windows down can reduce your fuel efficiency. Test out your AC and make sure it’s working before the weather gets too warm.

While it’s important to get your car ready for summer driving, it’s just as important to make sure you have the coverage you need — from the cottage to the beach, and everywhere in between. Before you hit the road this summer, contact your group’s licensed car insurance broker.

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