Warm Weather Driving Prep: Get Your Vehicle Set for Summer

Summer’s a’comin’! So, it’s time again to treat your vehicle to a little TLC. Last November, we posted a list of everything you might need to tackle winter driving conditions. Now that the studded and snow tires have (hopefully) been removed, here’s how to travel worry free into the warmer months:


1. Check tires. Remove and store your winter tires, and rotate all-season radials.

2. Check tire pressure. And check again. Because air pressure increases with temperature you’ll want to check your tire pressure more frequently during the summer months.

3. Check brakes for noise. You’re looking for grinding, squealing, screeching or chatter. Excessive amounts of any or all mean it’s time to invest in new ones.

4. Replace windshield wiper blades. They took a beating over the winter.

5. Wash it! And not just the parts you can see. Spray the underbody and undersides of both bumpers to get rid of build-up. As for the body, wash it in the shade. Then wax it. But wait until it’s completely dry before doing so.

6. Apply “sunscreen”. Hours in the sun can result in the cracking of any vinyl surface or the fading of cloth. Apply a protectant… reapply when needed.

7. Clean – and clean OUT – the interior. You don’t want your old trash blowing around when it’s finally warm enough to drive with the windows down.

8. Change the oil. Consider synthetics… they’re specifically designed for warm weather engine protection.

9. Check all fluids. That means brake, transmission, coolant, power steering and windshield washer fluid. Replace, or refill, to proper levels.

10. Test the AC.

11. Examine belts and hoses for wear or deterioration.

12. Consider assembling a car care kit, if you don’t already have one. Include a couple large bottles of water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit. Maybe throw in a blanket, just in case.

Finally, be aware that heat often makes people uncomfortable and thus, irritated. Irritated drivers tend to be impatient and less apt to pay attention. Give drivers their space and stay alert.

Now all that’s left to do is plan a road trip! Happy travels!

(To read up on Winter Driving Preparations, visit: http://butlerautogroup.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/oh-no-snow-everything-you-and-your-vehicle-need-for-winter-driving/)


Things Aren’t Always as They Seem

Everybody has a love story about the one that got away. Mine just happens to be about a truck.

It was a 1976 Datsun Pick-up, its tall camper shell complete with moon roof. Gleaming white with dark grey interior. Bench seat, cassette deck.

But the feature I appreciated most was the smell; every time the heater ran the cab filled with the comforting aroma of warm maple syrup.

Those of you in the know are cringing here…

We spent the better part of a year together, my truck and I, racking up the typical high school memories of hauling friends to the lake, to the mall, to nowhere in particular. My pick-up was my escape, my independence, my world.

Until it fell undeniably, expensively ill.

Turns out, that savory scent I loved so much wasn’t, in fact, a blessing from the automotive gods. Instead it was a signal that the truck was burning coolant… a silent killer that, having gone (relatively) undetected, culminated in a cracked engine block, a staggering repair bill, and a crushed teenager who couldn’t (and still can’t) believe the red flag had been there since the beginning. I couldn’t afford to fix the truck so, sadly, we parted ways.

Don’t let this happen to you. Regular maintenance can help you and your wheels stay together. Let Butler help: www.butlerman.com/service-and-parts.htm