Post by International Military Life Community Manager Courtney Woodruff
Rumor has it this has been the darkest winter Europe has seen in decades. If you’re anything like me, you may have spent much of the season in hibernation mode. Now that sunshine is in the forecast on a more consistent basis, it’s time to get out and explore all your host nation has to offer!
But first, it’s important to perform seasonal checks and routine maintenance to make sure your car is ready for warmer weather. Here are five ways to prepare your vehicle for summer driving overseas.
Switch to summer tires.
The general rule of thumb in Germany is to drive with winter tires “von O bis O,” or from October to Ostern (Easter). Now that the chance of snow and ice is getting slimmer, it’s time to dust off your summer wheels. It’s also a good idea to check the tire tread to make sure it has a depth of 1.6 millimeters or more; experts recommend 4 millimeters.
Wash the salt off the underbody of your car.
When you take your vehicle for its first post-winter wash, be sure to give its underbelly a little extra TLC. Layers of salt from months of driving on icy roadways build up, causing the aluminum and steel to rust and corrode. The wheel wells and muffler need special attention.
Top off fluids.
Ready to hit the road for your first summer road trip? Before you go, it’s important to replenish the fluids your vehicle needs to run properly. Have your oil changed, and check your brake, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid levels to make sure they are where they need to be.
Replace windshield wipers.
Freezing temperatures are tough on wiper blades. Ice and snow causes the rubber to crack and break. It’s recommended that drivers install a new pair every six months to ensure windshields remain clear of vision-restricting dirt and grime
Check the expiration date on your emergency kit.
In most European countries, drivers are either required or highly recommended to carry emergency kits. Did you know the box of medical supplies must be replaced on a regular basis? Now is a great time to re-stock any supplies and make sure the expiration date hasn’t passed.
What are your summer travel plans?
Do you have any additional tips to help fellow members get their vehicles ready for summer driving overseas?
Check out the USAA – International FAQ
Author Biography: Courtney Woodruff is a military spouse, mom and writer currently living in Germany. She has a master's degree in Human Services Counseling: Military Resilience and currently serves as the International Military Life Blogger and Community Manager for USAA. She has a heart for our troops and their families and strives to share her own experience to help others overcome the unique challenges of military life. Follow her adventures on her blog, Courtney at Home, or connect with her Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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