Avoid overheating when driving in summer
With hot summer weather approaching, you may be thinking of losing a few pounds to fit into your bathing suit. Or maybe you’re planning a summer vacation. You’re probably not thinking about your car. This would be an ideal time to prepare your car for the rigors of summer driving. “Hot weather brings unique challenges,” said Ray Palermo, Director of Public Relations for Response Insurance. “It can present dangerous conditions for both the vehicle and its occupants.” In fact, over 7 million cars break down on the road every summer. Palermo points out that most summer auto breakdowns can be avoided.
If you live in an area that experiences cold winters and snow, your car needs maintenance before the hot summer temperatures arrive. According to automotive blog therobsway.com - the most critical areas to check after the harsh winter months are engine fluids, radiator hoses, belts, tires and brakes. Adequately preparing these key areas of the car before the weather warms up will not only keep you safe while driving, they’ll help prevent costly repairs.
The worst thing for your car’s engine is heat. If your car overheats in hot weather, you face the prospect of waiting hours for a tow truck in extreme summer heat. That’s why it’s so important to check your car’s cooling systems regularly. When the engine is cold, remove the radiator cap and check the levels of antifreeze and water. Inspect for rust or buildup of scale in the system. If you find any rust or scale, the system should to be cleaned and refilled with fresh fluids. Check the belts and hoses for cracks or any signs of wear. Bad belts or hoses should be replaced.
When driving in hot weather, monitor your car’s lights and gauges. If the temperature gauge shows the engine temperature is going up, turn off the air conditioner and turn on the heater. Set the heater’s fan on high and set the temperature level to the hottest setting. This may be uncomfortable, but it will draw heat from the engine and prevent the car from overheating long enough to get the car home or to the nearest service station. If the engine temperature increases while the car is stopped in traffic, put it in park and step on the gas lightly. This will help circulate coolant. If you notice the temperature is on the gauge enters the red zone, pull over immediately to somewhere safe that’s away from traffic. Driving a car with an overheated engine can seriously damage the engine.
While you’re taking care of your car, take care of yourself, too. “Drivers need to stay cool as well,” said Palermo. “Our national driving habits surveys have shown that 75 percent of drivers are fearful of encountering road rage and 37 percent said they had personally experienced it in the previous six months”, It’s a good idea to drive with a mobile phone in case of an emergency. A cooler filled with cold water or iced tea will make sure you and your passengers stay cool. Small children are sensitive to extremes in temperature; you can protect them with window shades on the rear windows. Schedule your trips for early morning or in the evening, if possible. At those times, temperatures are cooler and your car will be less likely to overheat. And never leave children or pets unattended in a hot car with the windows up.