The weather has turned pleasant and the kids are out of school and with lots of free time. This can only mean one thing — summer is here!
Summertime provides great weather for people to be outside and driving, but it can make being on the road a bit more risky. In fact, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the 100 Deadliest Days because there are so many accidents. This is due to a number of factors such as more drivers on the roads, more alcohol-related accidents, and teenage drivers with less experience driving.
But it’s not just you as a driver who needs to worry about driving in the summertime. As the weather gets hotter, your car becomes more susceptible to breaking down and it becomes even more essential for you to take care of it. Here are a few tips to help you make sure your car is ready for your adventures this summer.
Check Your Tires
This is always going to be the #1 thing to do. If you switched to winter tires for those days of snow and ice, you need to change your tires out for summer time.
Winter tires are created specifically to handle snow and ice. The tires are designed to be flexible to handle the surface changes that happen in winter, and the warm pavement will actually wear your winter tires out much faster in the summer.
If you hate changing out tires with the season, consider getting all-season tires.
Once you know you have the correct tires, make sure that you have the tires inflated to the correct manufacturer’s specifications. Check your tire pressure so that you don’t accidentally have a blow-out on one of your trips or as you drive through the massive amounts of construction that are most likely happening on your usual driving routes.
If you haven’t replaced your tires, make sure to check that you have good tread, especially before any long road trips. And don’t forget to check your spare tire!
Get Your Car Serviced
Take your car in for its regularly scheduled maintenance. Get the oil changed, have the battery checked, and top off the fluids (including the washer fluid).
It’s a good idea to be doing this regularly, but summer is a great time to make sure your car is working properly. No one wants to get ready to leave for a weekend only to discover that the car battery is dead, or finding that something needs a quick tune-up. You should also make sure to use your car health monitor to help you diagnose your car’s needs to help you direct things more quickly.
Check The Cooling System
How do you prevent your car from overheating? By making sure the cooling system is working properly, you can help keep your car from overheating.
Take your car in for an engine flush. The mechanic will flush out the old coolant (also known as antifreeze) and put in the proper mixture of coolant and water. Your mechanic can also check the belts and hoses to make sure none of these need to be replaced. Lastly, make sure the thermostat is checked and replaced, especially in an older car. A bad thermostat is one of the causes for most cars overheating.
As you drive in the summer, be mindful of your temperature gauge to make sure you recognize when your car is overheating. If you notice the temperature rising, turn on the heat and proceed to where you can get help.
Check Your Air Conditioning System
Regardless of where you live, there will be a few days during the summer where you will need to run the air conditioning in your car. It will be a necessity.
But it’s not just about your comfort. In most modern cars, the serpentine belt helps power the air conditioning, but it also powers other systems in the car, including the water pump in the coolant system needed to prevent your car overheating. Proper maintenance can keep your car running and help you enjoy the refreshing air conditioning.
Have a Roadside Emergency Kit
Having a roadside emergency kit is essential, but the change in the season is an excellent time to take a look at the kit and make sure there's not something you need to replace.
Add more water bottles (you need to stay hydrated!) and check your first-aid kit to make sure you have everything you might need.
Don’t neglect this one. Over 40% of drivers don’t have an emergency kit which is a necessity only when you need it. Better to be safe with this one.
Whether you’re towing a trailer, using a bike rack, or tying camping equipment to the roof of your car, make sure that you secure everything. Review your car’s weight limit so that you’re not trying to load up too much.
Securing these items also ensures that you won’t lose something off the top of your car that you want, but also that could damage another vehicle. Accidents can happen, but it’s best if we try to prevent those.
Don’t forget to look at the height limits on your trip. Especially if you don’t secure things to the roof of your car, you will probably forget about it until you drive under a low overpass. Best not to take chances with that!
Summertime is the best time to roll down your windows and hit the road. If you follow these tips, your car will be sure to have an enjoyable trip without any problems from your car.