Summer is just around the corner and with all of this warm weather coming up, it’s time to prep those 4 wheel parts and get your offroad vehicle in tip-top shape. Fortunately there are steps you can take to prepare your vehicle to run its best and extend the life.
The best preventative care you can do to your vehicle is to bring it in to your local Fort Collins Auto Shop, 4×4 Offroad Network or any other trust-worthy mechanic if you’re not in the Northern Colorado area. They will diagnose your vehicle and give recommendations on what’s best for it. Before going into any shop though, it’s a good idea to have general knowledge on what maintenance is best for your vehicle so you don’t go in blind. Some car maintenance you can do by yourself, so it’s nice to have a basic understanding on what your vehicle needs instead of waiting for someone else to tell you.
First it’s important to make sure you’ve completely de-winterized your vehicle. Take off the winter tires, wash the undercarriage, give your paint a fresh coat of wax and top off all fluids. Once you’ve done this, the first thing to look at is your battery. If you don’t have a battery tester, take it in to your 4×4 mechanic and they can test it for you and give you an accurate reading on how much life is left. It’s important to test your battery’s life, because heat can cause battery fluid to evaporate. If the fluid gets too low it can damage the internal structure of the battery, which results in malfunctioning components thus allowing too high a charging rate which will eventually destroy it. Make sure you bring your vehicle in to have the electrical system checked to make sure it’s charging at the correct rate. However you can help keep your battery in good shape as well by cleaning the battery terminals and removing any corrosion. You can get rid of corrosion with baking soda and an old toothbrush.
During hot temperatures the cooling system works in overtime, so to keep the system working effectively, the coolant should be fresh and topped off. Your 4×4 mechanic can test the coolant’s life to see if it needs a complete flush or just needs a top off. Maintaining proper coolant levels can prevent corrosion and offer the most protection on your vehicle against overheating.
Did we mention heat? Because of how hot it gets in the summer, engine components reach ridiculously hot temperatures and can wear down components such as tubes and belts. Before going on any offroad adventure or road trip (or any driving for that matter) make sure all belts, tubes and other rubberized components are free of cracks. Excessive heat causes these parts to wear down faster than usual, so the last thing you want is to be out on the trail and a fan belt to break causing your car to overheat. Take preventative action to ensure you’ll always be on the go!
Another rubber component to check are your tires. Tires already get worn easily, and adding hot temperatures only makes it worse. To maximize the life and safety, check the tire condition and psi regularly, and have them rotated as needed. Heat will cause the pressure within a tire to rise, so it’s important to check it’s pressure when they are cold. If the pressure is near the recommended maximum (you can check this on the tire’s sidewall), you might want to consider airing down a bit.
In addition to all the rubber components, check your engine oil, power steering, braking and transmission fluids. Also check any filters in your vehicle. Because of the hot temperatures, vehicles need as much air as they can get, and a dirty filter is only preventing clean air from entering which can make it work harder than it needs to.
If you’re an offroad enthusiast, check all 4 wheel parts to make sure they’re functioning as intended, especially the aftermarket accessories. It’s important to understand how all aftermarket components on your vehicle work, and it’s your responsibility they are installed correctly. If you’ve purchased a vehicle with parts you don’t understand, take it in to our shop and our technicians will check them tomake sure they’re installed and functioning properly. If you have any performance parts such as a supercharger, bigger fuel injectors or other components, it mightalso be wise to carry a fire extinguisher. There are plenty of auto parts manufactures that make fire extinguishers to fit into the cab of vehicles.
As with automotive repair and care, we recommend you bring your car or 4×4 vehicle in to our specialist to have it looked at and prepared properly for the summer. Our 4×4 mechanics have a lot of experience and can provide you with the service you deserve.