With the summer heat conditions worse than they have ever been, it is important that you consider not only yourself but also the place where you spend a great deal of your time: Your vehicle! You already know that these record breaking heat conditions can be hard on your body, but they can also be really hard on your car. Take a few smart precautions for help in preparing your car for these summer heat conditions.
Prepare Your Car To Beat The Summer Heat
Have the hoses and belts on your vehicle examined. A sudden problem with a broken serpentine belt can cause an immediate loss of power steering, which can cause major accidents. A number of other problems can happen due to broken belts or busted hoses as well. Excessive heat can add more pressure to every part of a car, especially belts and hoses, so keeping them in good repair is a vital part of vehicle maintenance.
Your air condition is essential in keeping the inside temperature of your car tolerable during the hot weather. Have the air condition checked prior to the onset of the warm months, including the coolant levels and the mechanical components. The last thing you want is an air conditioning failure on a sweltering day!
Hot weather can make tire damage worse, and it may cause tires to wear more quickly than usual. Keep a regular check on your tire pressure, and do checks for signs of wear or damage on a regular basis. If you see signs of damage, have the alignment on your vehicle checked, and replace tires when necessary.
Don’t take chances during hot weather, because leaving your vehicle unprepared for the hot weather can end up making your life miserable. Take care of your car in this summer heat, and it will take care of you!
As per the estimation made by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 350 deaths occur due to accidents resulted by tire failure. Much before there is a tread separation or blow out of tire, get it checked on regular basis to avoid such disasters.
Inflation of Tire
You are spending a lot on fuel, this can also be prevented by regular tire checks. Ensure proper inflation of tires which gets you good gas mileage and avoids wear and tear of tire. It is just the matter of few minutes and a check on tire pressure is done. If you are not sure about the inflation rate, it is displayed at every car shop and will also be mentioned in the user manual when you buy a car. Do not go with the number displayed on the tire as that is the maximum pressure a tire can withstand and not the required pressure for the tire to withstand your vehicle weight and size.
Remember, the best time to measure the tire pressure is when the tires are cold. You can use a gauge meant to check tire pressure available at any auto shop. In order to measure, you have to unscrew the valve cap, place gauge on the valve stem and obtain the reading by just one press. Try taking the reading when you have not driven anywhere yet. In case of low pressure, inflate it. If high, then depress the stem pin and let the air go. It is important to drive under right pressure. Excess gives you a rough drive and under inflated causes wear and tear and of course loss of fuel.
Tires can serve the best when looked upon and cared regularly. Buy the best tire which suits every weather condition. Specially when you are living in a location which experiences drastic weather changes, it is good to opt for the best of tires be it little expensive.
To beat the heat, you get into swimming pools, wear comfortable clothes and prefer air condition and keep the cool. Like we, even cars take the heat and needs to be cooled down. Below are certain ways in which you can beat the summer.
Car Cooling System
Be it any vehicle, on long distance driving it gets heated up. If the cooling system of your car is not properly functioning then it can cause over heat and break down. Pressure created due to long journeys will need more of air conditioning to the system to run smoothly. As per Automotive Service Association (ASA), a thorough check on coolants is a must. Make sure the coolant tanks are filled up to mark. If you find any contamination, flush out the cooling system. Do not randomly pick any coolants as it is cheap. Use proper mix of coolants recommended by the manuals. Check for wear and tear parts, drive belts, hoses and pipes of radiator, fan blades etc. If you fail to do so, you might end up in the middle of your road trip.
Check for Battery
Ensure battery is seated at it’s right place and no vibration while driving. More of vibration can cause battery to wear off and also gets heated up during long drives. High temperature outside can evaporate battery fluid. Accessories such as DVD players, radio or GPS systems will also add to the pressure on the battery. Hence, get your battery checked, if it is more than 2 or 3 years old and replace if required.
Safety Measures to Curb Heat
- Park your vehicles in shade as much as possible during summer
- Do not leave pets or children alone in the vehicle
- If the vehicle was parked under the sun for long time, keep doors and windows open for sometime before getting into the vehicle.
- Any metal parts such as seat belts buckle or steering wheel etc gets heated up when exposed to sun. Avoid sudden contact with them as you get into the vehicle.
Driving is always a part of your daily routine. While driving to school, work or even holidays, you will end up spending most of your time on roads. Do remember, there are instances where things do change in split seconds. A brake fail, tire blow out, a car ahead of you deviates from it’s path causing a jerk to you and your passengers and many more. You need to always be prepared to face such emergencies.
Blown Out Tires
This is a frequently occurring instance. Instead of sudden brakes in a situation where the vehicle is in speed, do the following:
- Keep the gas pedal squeezed for few seconds and release it slowly.
- Drive straight, do not take immediate turns until the vehicle slows down. When in speed, you tend to lose control over the vehicle when trying to take a turn.
- Gently take your car towards the hard shoulder, preferably on same side of blown out tire.
- When the car slows down, if necessary apply brakes lightly.
Failure of Brakes
When car brake fails, do not panic. Instead follow the below steps:
- Quickly pump the brakes trying to build up a residual pressure.
- Pull to lower gear. Due to friction and wind pressure, the car will slow down.
- Using hand brake would bring you vehicle to safe mode.
- Find some bushes, fence or even guard rails on road to rub your car against them to bring your vehicle to a halt.
Few situations where a bicyclist interrupts your way, a vehicle ahead of you meets with an accident or applies sudden brake, a pedestrian passes by, causing a sudden brake to your vehicle. You should know how to stop your vehicle quickly, yet safely. If you have anti lock brakes installed, then you can slam on it and hold to it until the car completely stops. Anti lock brakes helps in controlling the steering. If, you do not have the safety device installed then, gently squeeze brakes to ensure the wheels do not skid. Until the vehicle comes to halt, do not try to turn the wheel as brakes locked will block the steering and an attempt can make you to lose control over your vehicle.
You can save money that you might end up spending on repairs by properly maintaining and a regular check of you vehicle. Specially when the vehicle has achieved great mileage and is old. To have that peace of mind and increase vehicle’s longevity, there are different ways and below are few tips to help in getting most out of your investment.
- Regular Check on Tires: To know how suspension and steering is performing, have a check on your tire wear. A shoulder wear or excessive edge indicates that maintenance is needed. Check regularly for tire pressure, spare parts as tires might get a premature wear. Conduct an inspection on side wall and tread areas to find any irregularities in wear or unevenly placed parts can cause damage to your vehicle.
- Check for Brakes Frequently: Have a thorough check of shoes, pads, rotors, fittings, calipers, parking brake and brake hardware. If squeal is found in brakes then replace it immediately.
- Check on Fluid Levels at Times: You need to change and replenish engine oil when needed. Check for lubricants and vehicle fluids and check them at regular intervals. If found dirty fluids, it will damage your vehicle’s engine.
- Check for Hoses, Engine Belts, and Fuel Filter: Preventing a breakdown or a serious damage on engine by a measure of replacing hoses and belts at regular recommended intervals is a must as a drive belt alone can supply power to many accessories of engine and also hoses are found to carry fluids vital to your vehicle under heavy pressure.
- Change Air Filter: Protecting vehicle’s engine from contaminants in done by the air filters. If there is no sufficient air flow to the engine, it effects the performance and will also result in fuel consumption to greater extent. An air filter helps in easy flow of air free of dirt for better performance and longer life.
- Check for Battery and it’s Performance: Critical part of the vehicle is the battery which helps in start up, running of ac and other accessories. If you find a corroded, cracked or bulged terminals, it’s a clear indication that the battery has reached its extreme condition and has to be checked or replaced. Battery life is limited, it has to be tested and replaced when necessary.
- Check Wiper Blades: If wiper blades are worn out then it affects the ability to see vehicles and road in front of you making the driving difficult. It is better to opt for all season wiper blades which helps in smooth operation and greater visibility. These blades are reliable, durable and gives strong performance.
You can never predict what nature acts like, specially in winter. With quite a number of accidents occurring on wet roads or rainy weather, it is important for the car drivers to be alert and look upon their driving habits in these winter months. With fluctuating weather, from thunderstorms to snow or to heavy rains. With mother nature behaving so erratically, ensure safety while driving and be prepared for the worst.
It’s Winter – Be Safe on Roads
When winter is nearing and you can feel the snow coming down, this is an important time to brace up and prepare for driving on snow. Do follow the below tips for a safe journey:
- With winter comes bad roads and hence bad driving conditions, prepare your vehicle for it.
- While driving faster you can easily lose control of your car specially on icy roads. Normally you need to maintain good distance between your and another car ahead of you. You need to slow down and have a smooth driving.
- Clear visibility is a must. Before you start off, make sure you have cleared the snow off your car to let others see your vehicle and you to have clean vision of roads. Keep a broom large enough to push off the snow. Ensure defroster, defogger and heater are in good working conditions. These will avoid steamy windows.
Vehicle Safety – In Winter
You living in suburbs or city, driving in winter needs that extra precautions for safety of vehicle.
- Tires when worn, slip easily. This will skid your vehicles, hence ensure tires with tread to avoid sliding and good traction while braking.
- Make sure to have full tank or at-least more than half of gas filled tank. If got strangled or stuck in between, your engine heat comes as a rescue. Keep the window open when you in car with running engine.
- Thorough check of your vehicle’s tire pressure, atleast once in a month. Always have a spare and jack in your car before you set out for driving. Keep the tires cool before the check of pressure.
- Always check for an update on weather and then step out of the house for a drive. Do not take chances with varying conditions of nature.
- Emergencies can occur anytime, be prepared for it. Carry a warm blanket, flashlight, first aid kit and extra batteries always when driving.