With the Montreal Grand Prix race quickly approaching, auto enthusiasts have their minds set on F1 weekend and the thrill that comes along with it. But for motor heads and average car owners alike, the weekend signals the start of summer, a season when everyone is putting their automobiles to the limit with road trips and travel.
To keep your car in top shape for the summer as well as year-round, follow the five tips below from motor sports analyst JC Cote.
1. Keep tire pressure in check
ire pressure — in both family cars and Formula One race cars — changes over time and throughout the course of a trip. This is due to multiple factors such as temperature, atmospheric pressure and the wear on the tires in general.
It’s important to adjust tire pressure at least four times a year at the beginning of every season, especially this time of year (between spring and summer) when warmer temperatures are finally beginning to stabilize. If tire pressure isn’t kept in check, drivers run the risk of a blowout if the pressure is too high, or the waste of extra gasoline if it is too low.
Different octane levels — every car on inside of door has optimal tire pressure and optimal octane level — more harm than good when trying to save money
2. Stay on top of fluid levels
Fluid levels, such as those of brake fluids, steering fluids and engine oil, are key to keeping your car running smoothly.
Specifically, the transition from cooler to warmer temperatures this time of year is hard on oil and therefore rough on the engine, so it is imperative to make sure your automobile is topped off with fresh oil this season.
Going forward, it’s important to get your oil changed once a year or every 10,000 kilometers driven — whichever comes first. Regularly checking fluid levels at home is recommended, but when the time comes, they should only be changed or topped of by professionals.
3. Check up on shocks and brakes
Winter can be particularly hard on disk brakes, and seasonal potholes can really give shocks and springs a beating, so this is the ideal time of year to get these checked.
Similar to fluid levels, these need to be checked every 10,000 kilometers or once a year, and it is best to have a professional do this and adjust or even replace them if needed.
4. Update air filters
While air filters in today’s cars can, in general, last longer than they used to, the life span of these filters is largely dependent on environment. Given this, spring can be the toughest season on filters with pollen wreaking a havoc on your filter system.
Be sure to change your air filters every other year at the beginning of summer to keep your system in top shape. Depending on the automobile, some car owners may be able to do this on their own, but as engines become more complex, more and more cars require filter changes to be done by a professional.
5. Choose the right fuel at the pump
Lastly, and most importantly, it is critical to select the right fuel for your automobile at the gas station every single time, as different car engines require different octane levels to run efficiently. To know which kind your car requires, check the inside of the driver’s side car door.
The correct fuel may not always be the standard, least expensive gasoline option at the pump, but fueling up with the right gas can save car owners the cost of repairs and replacements down the road.
Even Formula One cars are not exempt from this issue: With the wrong fuel in their automobile, they won’t make it very far past the starting line.