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We are just a few days away from the official start of summer 2012! All types of vehicles are being prepared, so your used cars in your lot need the same treatment as well as your personal cars. Together with the help of Edmund’s professional Auto team, we’ve complied a list of the necessary and best practices to keep any vehicle ready for the upcoming heat.
The sweaty, sticky months can inflict nearly as much punishment on a vehicle as the brutal winter can. Hot pavement melts tire treads. Auto fluids drain much more quickly in the heat. Your battery is more stressed in hot temperatures. That’s not to mention summer’s impact on your paint job.
Check the battery
Extreme heat tends to drain battery life, so have your battery tested at a certified automotive repair shop—especially if the battery is more than 3 years old. “If you have no idea how old the battery is, consider getting it tested at the dealership,” says Ron Montoya, consumer advice associate at Edmunds. “They have equipment that can tell you whether or not it needs to be recharged or replaced. If it checks out fine, you’ve bought yourself more time.”
Stay on top of fluid levels
Today’s oils are multi-viscous, so they get thinner in the heat, which could result in a lack of needed lubrication for your vehicle. Based upon the advice of a trusted service shop, you might consider switching to a slightly thicker compound if you’re driving in extreme heat. Meanwhile, maintain a 50/50 ratio of coolant to water to optimize your vehicle’s temperature. You can track this with a simple antifreeze tester from your local auto-parts store.
Ditch the winter wheels
If you use snow or ice tires in the winter, switch to summer or all-season tires now. Winter tires are especially vulnerable to wear from dry, hot pavement. Also, make sure tires are properly inflated, as higher temperatures cause air pressure to rise. If your tires are properly inflated, they’ll last longer—and you’ll get better gas mileage.
Replace the wiper blades
If you’ve had your wipers for a year or longer or if they aren’t making full contact with the windshield, it’s time to buy a new set. You don’t want to be caught with poor visibility in a surprise downpour.
Wash away road salt
If you had a rough winter, road salt likely collected on your automobile’s undercarriage. Use a garden hose and as much water pressure as you can to loosen winter grime and salt. If you have a low-lying lawn sprinkler, set it under your car and turn it on to do the work for you.
Protect the paint
Give your vehicle a good wash and wax. Then try to park where shade will cover your car for as long as possible. The best way to protect your exterior is to keep your car out of the sun. Try to rotate vehicle positions if possible.
Keep an emergency kit in the trunk
Pack a flashlight, flares, first-aid kit, jumper cables, paper towels, extra washer fluid, a jug of water and basic tools such as wrenches, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, pliers and grips.
Have your sales team keep these lists handy as they prepare to sell in the upcoming weeks, your potential clients will appreciate the extra effort!