We're all hopeful that the coronavirus pandemic won't rear its ugly head again later this year. So we talk about the summer driving season with a sense of optimism - that it won't be affected. In any other year, we'd be knee-deep in it now that Memorial Day is long past. This is no ordinary year.
Having said that, air travel is now a fraction of what it used to be. That means people are more likely to be driving to their long distance destinations than in years past. It's also cheaper to drive than before. The average gas price leading into the July 4th holiday is around $2.10. That's 25% lower than it was last year ($2.80).
Now that the summer is in full swing, here are some summer car care tips to ensure that you’ll be ready for any potential trips:
Change your oil (maybe)
For all intents and purposes, there’s little difference between an oil at 3,000 miles and at 5,000 miles. So don’t waste time and money changing the oil at 3,000 miles. Feel confident in sticking with your owner’s manual recommendations (5,000 – 7,000 miles) and make sure you consult it for the type of oil that’s best in your engine. As a general rule, you’ll get the best protection in the summer when you use a slightly thicker grade of oil, such as a 10W30 instead of a 5W30. Engines need a thicker oil in the summer months because of the summer heat and its effects on thinning the oil out. When the weather cools down, you can switch back to a lighter, thinner oil, which will help preserve gas mileage in the winter months.
Give your car a general check-up
Check your tire pressure, your cooling system, and the air conditioner before you go on any long trips.
We've written about this in previous years - any time you hit the road, it's always a good idea to have a little emergency supply kit traveling with you. The experts at FEMA (our tax dollars at work) came out with a handy list of the things you'll want to take with you:
- Jumper cables
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Car cell phone charger
- Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction)
These things sound like common sense, but you know what they say about that......no, not that. I was referring to, doing these simple things will go a long way to helping you have the kind of summer road trip that leaves your coronavirus stresses behind.
This post was published on June 24, 2020 and was updated on June 24, 2020.