The summer heat can be hard on vehicles, drivers and passengers. Take some of these simple steps to keep your car in better condition during the summer months:
- Mitigate heat in the car's interior. The cabin of a vehicle can reach extreme temperatures in hotter months. Vehicle interior temperatures can soar to triple digits in less than an hour, according to the National Weather Service. Drivers can try to park in shady areas, and use removable sun shades in windshields to keep parked cars cooler. Be careful of hot seats, steering wheels and other parts that drivers or passengers will come in contact with when entering a car in the summer heat. And never leave a pet or a child unattended in a car. Even in moderate heat, human and animal passengers alike can be in danger of heat stroke.
- Check radiator systems. Lots of summer breakdowns happen because a vehicle's cooling system failed. Check rubber or plastic parts like hoses for cracking or excessive wear, and scrape any collected debris from the grille or other parts of the radiator to avoid overheating. Also ensure your engine has the correct amount of coolant, which can vary depending on your vehicle. Refer to your owners manual for the correct coolant type and amount.
- Change your oil. Extreme temperatures can also put more stress on an engine, and dirty oil can cause damage or poor engine operation. Change the oil to make sure that sludge from the winter season isn't putting more wear on the engine.
- Inflate tires properly. Changes in temperature and climate can leave tires underinflated. Check each tire and add air as necessary for a safer ride, better fuel economy and less chance of a flat. Some gas stations offer free air stations with working inflation pressure testers to make this routine maintenance more convenient. Be sure to always check the approved PSI or tire pressure listed on the side of the tire. Newer vehicles have tire pressure monitors to help alert drivers to underinflated tires.
- Clean out the car. Too often, drivers don't think about what's in their car until something with a relatively low melting point, like chocolate, has run all over the upholstery or the dash. These kinds of messes can be dangerous in some cases - items like disposable lighters can explode or batteries can melt and leak hazardous materials. A clean sweep of the car at the beginning of the summer can help avoid mess and driving risks.
These tips can take the edge off of summer heat and help drivers stay safe as higher temperatures arrive.
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