With hot summer weather just around the corner, overheated cars are a constant concern for drivers nationwide. Each summer more than 7 million vehicles breakdown on the road, but that’s not the only cause for concern, surveys also show that road rage is at an all time high during the hotter months! Here are Eight Tips to ensure you keep your cool this as the temps heat up, for the sake of yourself and you vehicle:
1. Check the strength and level of your coolant. A low coolant level may allow your engine to overheat. Make sure the coolant reservoir is filled to the proper level. If it’s low, add coolant and always read and follow directions on the coolant you purchase. Make sure you don’t use water alone. Though water does cool better than antifreeze, antifreeze is required to raise the boiling temperature of the coolant and protect against corrosion.
Note: NEVER open a radiator cap on a hot radiator! Hot steam and boiling coolant may burn you! Wait until the engine has completely cooled.
2. Check your air conditioner. Make sure the A/C blows cold air and is working properly. Nothing makes hot weather worse than a failing A/C unit. If the A/C isn’t blowing cold air, the refrigerant charge may be low or the cooling fan may have gone out. It’s a good idea to take it in and have it serviced before things really heat up.
3. Check the age of your battery. Most batteries only last 4-5 years. If you battery is 5-plus years old, it will probably need to be replaced soon. Hot weather is even harder on batteries than cold weather, so now is the time to do it.
4. Change the oil. Replacing old dirty oil with fresh new oil increases the lubrication protection for your engine. Switching to a heavier viscosity motor oil during summer months can a good idea, especially on older high mileage engines. When in doubt, ask your service department what’s right for your vehicle.
5. Block out the heat. If you don’t have tint, this can be the time to reconsider it. It not only an help keep your care more comfortable, it can protect your interior. Invest in a sun shade for your windshield so the interior doesn’t get as hot. Also, be sure to close the sunroof and if you feel it is safe, you can consider leave the windows cracked so hot air can escape. This can lighten the cooling load on your A/C when the vehicle is first started and prevent you from burning yourself on hot interior surfaces! Again, factor in whether you are OK with having your windows cracked, even a little bit, where ever you are parking your vehicle.
For the Safety of You & Your Pets
1. Children and Pets. NEVER, never, never leave children or pets in your car. It doesn’t take much for heat stroke to set in… or worse. Each year children and pets die in vehicles across the nation. They don’t have the ability to open a window or door like you can. And, typically, they will be quiet as heat overcomes them, so there won’t even be crying or other audible indications of trouble! Even with cracked windows, leaving a child or pet inside a vehicle remains a perilous, illegal and potentially deadly choice. If you see children or animals left in a hot vehicle, call for help, such as 9-1-1 immediately.
2. Protect yourself. Wear a hat to keep the hot sun off your head… especially if you are follically challenged, and remember to always wear sun screen. This is extremely important if you own a convertible or a vehicle with a sunroof.
3. Stay hydrated! Be sure to bring extra water with you, if your planning to be on the road for awhile. Another good idea is having moist towelettes in your vehicle so you can cool off if you need to.
Where ever the open road takes you, be careful, be kind and stay safe out there!