Here in Colorado we have a very specific task that’s required when the weather finally transitions away from the icy grasp of King Winter and into Spring, with all its chaos and unpredictability: take off the snow tires. Some cars just seem to have less traction than others, so it’s common for Coloradoans to have studded snow tires on their vehicles. While they offer considerably better bad weather (read “ice”) traction, they’re expensive and not particularly useful in warmer driving conditions.
Fortunately, my SUV — a Toyota Highlander — seems to do just fine in icy conditions so I purchase all-weather tires instead and replace them every few years. Heavy vehicles wear through tires faster, as you probably know.
Summer just around the corner means road trips are afoot and I thought it’d be useful to write about what I do to ensure my car is ready for summer driving.
Here’s my big four:
Air Conditioning — If the air coming out isn’t chillin’, you won’t be chillin’ on those 100F days either, and driving with your windows down might be good for the dog (actually, not really) but it lowers your gas milage and is a bad idea. If it ain’t rockin’, get it checked out now, before it gets beastly hot.
Cooling System — at a minimum, make sure your car’s full of coolant and while it’s a mysterious chemical soup, it really does work better than water does, both when it’s bitter cold out and when it’s crazy hot. I’ve had my car overheat driving through the desert — long story! — and it’s no fun.
Windshield Wipers — rain, dirt, dust, dead bugs, good wiper blades are mission critical for safe driving and when that drizzle turns into a monsoon, new blades and new tires will keep you safely on the road while other drivers are stuck hiding under bridges.
Tires — I think there’s nothing more important for vehicular safety than a good set of tires because they’re quite literally where the rubber hits the road. Don’t skimp on cheapo Costco brands and don’t try to save money by keeping them on your car until they’re bald. It’s just a bad idea. Having more than once found myself hydroplaning at freeway speeds (which is quite scary) good, deep treads are a must for any safe driving, summer or winter.
If you do find yourself in the market for new tires this summer, I encourage you to check out Hankook Tires, and to help you get your car prepped, they’re offering an $80 rebate on the new Ventus, Dynapro and Optimo tire lines. Check out the rebate here.
Now, is your car ready to roll?