We've got a ton of 'summer cars' in the Gallatin Valley. Not necessarily exotic or expensive (although there are those too), but Garage Queens that are driven in the Summer only and now is the time to get them road ready.

We work on our cars a lot in nice weather, but that's because we enjoy it. We also know our limits and when to bring a vehicle to a professional.

There are SO many small tasks you can do to your vehicle to bring it up to road-readiness or keep your daily driver in good shape. You don't have to be a gear head to execute the basics. Knowing where to look on your vehicle and what to buy is EASY. You just need to be kind to your wheels so consider the following:

  • BASICS: Do you have up-to-date insurance cards and registration? Some folks only insure their summer cars for half the year. I've found good year-round insurance rates through Hagerty for my '66. That way I can drive it whenever the weather allows without worrying.
  • CHECK THE OIL: Duh. Blowing up the engine on your toy car is not cool. Always have shop towels around so there's no excuse. Anyone can do it.
  • CHECK THE COOLANT: It's generally a big reservoir that is labeled, with a pressure cap on it. Super easy to check and just as important as your oil.
  • OCTANE BOOST: Consider this inexpensive additive, especially if your car has sat in the garage all winter. Basically makes your gas go boom better. If you're unsure, Google your vehicle to see what kind is best or if it's appropriate.
  • FILL UP WITH PREMIUM: Most vehicles will appreciate a fresh tank of premium with NO ethanol.
  • GUMOUT FUEL SYSTEM CLEANER: This $9 bottle actually goes in BEFORE you fill up. It works best on a nearly empty tank. Dump it in, go for a drive, THEN fill up. Helps out with high mileage, older vehicles. We swear by it.
  • TEST ALL LIGHTS: Headlights, brake lights, turn signals...take 5 minutes with a friend to check ALL of them. So easy to do and cheap to replace if need be. Most older cars won't tell you when a bulb is toast.
  • CHECK THE TIRE PRESSURE: I hate dealing with tires. But inside your car door or the tires themselves will tell you exactly what the pressure SHOULD be. These days, newer quickie marts have fancy (free to use) air dispensers that do the work for you. Just punch in the number and it fills it automatically.

As I stated, my summer car isn't fancy or expensive. But it's FUN. The way it should be. Having a good relationship with a trusted mechanic and a AAA membership are two more pieces of advice I would give. AAA is always the best $150 I spend all year. Peace of mind, if you will. Enjoy yourself, drive safely and have a great summer!

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