The snow has finally melted and I am sure we are all turning our minds to summer vacation and planning road trips.  After a long harsh winter, your motor vehicle will need a good once-over to ensure you have worry-free summer driving. You can take some very simple steps on your own to ensure the basic maintenance of your vehicle, but you should also consider having a professional do a spring/summer checkup. Whether you do it yourself, or have it done by a qualified mechanic, here are some things that should be considered to enjoy comfortable and safe travels this coming summer.

Test those tires

If you used winter tires, they must obviously be switched over. Summer tires have different tread patterns to ensure better gripping on wet and warm roadways. Make sure your summer tires are inspected for wear and damage before they are installed and that they are properly inflated. If you are running on the same all-season tires, be sure they are thoroughly inspected and that the tire pressure is checked. You should also consider rotating and balancing the tires every time you change them over, and with the change of seasons from winter to summer to winter.

Cool ride ahead

We take air-conditioning for granted in our cars. But it should be checked to ensure it's functioning correctly. Strange noises or odors are an indication of a problem that needs to be addressed. Even without those sounds and smells, a qualified auto mechanic should thoroughly inspect the system to ensure it's running optimally. , It may need to be cleaned, a leak may need to be fixed , or the system simply needs a top up.

Here's to a clear view

After a long winter there may be cracks or pock marks in your windows from falling ice or stone chips. Always have your windshield repaired by a qualified windshield specialist. Even the smallest crack or pock mark can spread, reducing  the structural strength of the glass, which can emit minute glass fragments into the air.  Ice buildup in your windshield is another potential problem, causing the wiper blades to deteriorate. So be sure to check – and periodically change – those blades..  You might consider keeping the spare wiper blades in your trunk in the event you ever suffer damage to one. Of course, remember to top up your windshield washer reservoir with specially designed fluid that will help clear bug residue and bead water.

Change is in the air

Efficient running of your motor is critical to the safe and comfortable operation of your vehicle. The battery should be checked to ensure efficient contact connections. Oil should be changed. All coolant and liquid levels in the vehicle should be checked and topped up as needed, not only for the air-conditioner, but also for the radiator and brake fluid. Check all hoses and belts for proper connections and wear.

Safety first

It is always a good idea to have an emergency kit in your trunk. While you may already have one for winter that includes things like booster cables, a medical emergency kit and flashlights, you should consider adding some extra windshield wiper fluid, towels, sun hats and a tire-pressurizing kit in the event you ever get a flat.  And you should ensure that you have all necessary parts for  your tire jack and a properly inflated spare tire.

No matter how many precautions you take, however, you should always keep an eye on the warning lights and fluid levels. Should any problems arise, have them dealt with immediately.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.