Most drivers understand the dangers that lurk with winter driving, but summertime has plenty of risks too, as the busiest driving time of the year. As the nation begins to open up again, travelers are expected to forego flying and drive to their summer destinations instead. As drivers set out on their roadtrips, getting the car ready for sweltering temperatures and long trips requires more preparation than just taking the winter tires off. You may be faced with stop-and-go traffic, construction delays, accidents and oversized car loads.
It’s important to ensure that your car is in good working condition because nothing spoils a summer holiday more than getting stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. When you consider that your car may be traveling several hours a day at a high cruising speed with the air conditioner blasting, it’s plain to see why preparation is key to summer driving survival.
By following these six simple steps to get your car ready for a warm weather road trip, you’re more likely to have a safe and fun vacation without expensive breakdowns.
After the brutal winter conditions that many people experienced, make sure that your tire pressure is accurate because severe cold upsets the balance. Properly inflated tires help you to save money because the correct pressure improves fuel economy. By having the right amount of air in your tires, your car will handle optimally in emergency maneuvers and keep you and your family safe. Check your tire pressure when the tires are cool and make sure that your spare tire is properly inflated. Keep a jack in the car just in case of a flat along the way. If you notice any unusual wear on the tires, check with a tire expert to determine your best options before hitting the road.
Of all of the problems that can go wrong with your car during the summertime driving season, coolant problems rank number one for a car breaking down. Many common cooling problems are a result of insufficient air flow near the radiator and this causes the car’s engine to overheat. Debris gets lodged in the radiator and the objects must be cleaned out. Getting stuck in summer traffic or road construction puts a strain on the cooling system. Thus, the cooling system should be flushed every twenty-four months and then routinely checked. A good rule to follow is a mixture of half water and half antifreeze. If the car does overheat, wait until the radiator cap has cooled down before trying to remove it because the cap is scolding hot.
3. Air Conditioning
A fully functional air conditioning system is an absolute must while driving during the hot summer months. When this system has a failure, it can turn the car into an oven in a short amount of time and make any drive a very uncomfortable experience. Air conditioning problems can occur for a number of reasons, such as no coolant, the air conditioning compressor wears out, a broken thermostat or blockages in the air vents. Even though air conditioning can reduce fuel economy by about twenty-five percent, you do not want to be without it in very hot or humid weather during any lengthy trip.
Regardless what season you’re driving in, you should always have brakes that are in good working order because brakes are the most important safety feature of your car. Properly maintained brakes can make all the difference in adjusting to slick road conditions so that you can slow down or come to a sudden stop. Before you start out on your trip this summer, you should have the brake pads and brake shoes inspected by a certified brake specialist. An ounce of prevention can prevent costly brake repairs from happening during your vacation if they’re fixed in a timely manner beforehand.
5. Windshield Wipers
As many drivers know, summertime is notorious for experiencing sudden and violent thunderstorms that result in a deluge of water beating against your car’s windshield. You need to have a set of windshield wipers that can effectively disperse the water so that you can see. It’s even more important at night because the pounding rain can dramatically decrease visibility to only fifteen or twenty feet in front of your vehicle. Check to see if your front and back wiper blades are in good shape. If they are showing signs of wear, you should replace them. Be certain that your washer fluid container is always filled since you will routinely use the wipers to wash away dust, grime and dead bugs on the glass.
Oil has been called the lifeblood of your vehicle because it keeps your car’s hardworking engine parts running clean, smooth and cool. While some newer vehicles can run longer between oil changes, it is recommended that you change your oil every three months or 3,000 miles to keep your engine running in tip-top shape, especially in hot climates. If you are planning on doing some heavy driving during the summer months, your engine is going to be working harder and it’s more prone to overheating. Check you oil level before you head out on the family trip and check it routinely along the way.
Have a Great Time!
With the lower than average gas prices and craving to leave the house this summer, drivers will begin to hit the road in droves. The warm days, sunny skies and the open road is alluring, but driving in the summer can pose risks if your car is not prepared to handle the grueling elements. By following these car safety tips, you’ll have a safe and fun filled adventure with your family instead of spending your days stuck at the nearest garage with costly repairs. If you're in need of brake repairs, NuBrakes offers top-rated, affordable mobile brake services in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio!