Summer is nearly upon us, apparently (has anyone told Mother Nature yet?), so it's time to pull the 'fun' car out of the garage and have some adventures. But before you do, there are some things you need to check. Being the handy bunch we are here at Haynes, we've picked the top five things you should focus your attention on before hitting the road.
01 Check your oil
It's been sat in your engine all winter, which won't have done it any favours. So now is the time to give it a once over to ensure it's worth of some summer fun. When you yank the dipstick out, you want to be faced with a liquid that has a bit of gold/amber to its hue. If it's think and black, give it and the filter a change. In fact now would be a good time to do an oil flush, too. Your oily bits will thank you.
02 Check the other fluids
Brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and even the wash fluid all need to be checked over. For the brakes fluid, check the level and top up as required. For the coolant, depending on what mix you have in there, you may need to drain t and put in more summer friendly solution.
But remember, never fill your engine with water only, not unless you want everything to corrode. Top the power steering fluid up as required, and when it comes to the transmission fluid, make sure it's a lovely red/pink colour.
Anything else and you have issues. Finally, drain the water out of your washers and replace it. Chances are it's gone stagnant over the winter, and that means it will smell rank.
03 Check your tyres
If your car has been sat on its own feet al winter, you could be in trouble. The tyres could have developed flat-spots, which you're going to notice in a big way when you hit the road. The best way to avoid this is to remove the wheels for the winter and put the car on stands.
It also gives you the opportunity to get underneath it for an inspection, too. If you've not done that, check all the air pressures and then go for a test drive.
You might get away with it if the tyres are new, but if not, you'll have to fork out for some new rubber we're afraid.
04 Check the condition of the battery and electrics
Ideally you would have left the car connected to a battery saver/conditioner over the winter, meaning you can just jump in, crank the key and be on your way.
If you haven't, you'll need to charge the battery, but before that, you'll need to check the condition of it to make sure it will hold charge. To do this, you'll need to invest in a battery tester, which can be had online for a small cost.
Just connect it to the terminals and it will tell you if it just needs a charge, or of it's goosed. If you have an older battery that you can look in, make sure it's disconnected before carefully unscrewing each chamber cap. If the acid is low, top it up with de-ionised water. NEVER use tap water.
05 Sort the small things
Do you really want to take to the road with list of niggles? Of course not, so set some time aside to tend to the small things. That cracked light you were going to change, sort out that speaker that doesn't work anymore, change the wipers, fit that bit of trim, whatever it may be, now is the time to do it. If you don't, the car won't be at its full potential, and if you're putting it back into regular use, you'll lose the time you need to get these jobs done. So do it now, while you have the chance, and capitalise on your summer enjoyment.