Extreme heat can take a toll on your vehicles. Performing routine maintenance throughout the hot summer months can help to prevent breakdowns and improve fuel economy. Here are some tips to keep your vehicles running smoothly all summer long:
- Check Tire Pressure and Alignment: Under-inflated, over-inflated or worn out tires can be very dangerous. Make sure to check tire pressure once a month, and don't forget about the spare. Look at tread depth and check for any signs of excessive wear as well as cracks in the sidewalls. Checking proper alignment maximizes the life of your tires and ensures vehicle performance as designed.
- Replace Worn Hoses & Belts: Be sure to check belts and replace them if you notice cracking or tears. It is recommended to replace belts every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. For instance, your serpentine belt is very important as it keeps components such as your air conditioning, alternator, power steering and brakes operating.
- Test AC Unit: Your drivers need to stay cool when driving in the hot summer heat. Test the AC unit, and if you notice any issues, be sure to have a technician check it out right away to prevent failure. Often times, the cause of AC malfunction is due to low levels of refrigerant.
- Flush Cooling System: Overheated engines are the number one cause of vehicle breakdowns. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled every 24 months. You should also make sure to check coolant levels periodically.
- Change Oil & Filter: Check your owner's manual to determine how often you should change your oil and filter. It is usually recommended every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but should be done sooner if your drivers take long trips, hauling heavy equipment or cargo. Be sure to also check underneath the vehicle for leaks.
- Battery: Heat causes battery problems. A car battery usually lasts 3-5 years, but you may consider replacing it sooner so that your drivers don’t have to deal with a dead battery when least expected. Make sure to keep the terminals tight and free of corrosion.
Fleet cards can help you with this summer maintenance because they enable you to purchase fuel AND maintenance while providing details of each transaction. They log and report expenditures at maintenance locations helping you control your company's expenses while saving you time and money. They also make it easy to prolong the life of your vehicles and keep them running at their most fuel efficient levels.