Summer is nearly synonymous with road trips.
Unfortunately that often means driving your car or SUV long distances through less-than-optimal conditions.
Driving through extreme conditions is hard on your vehicle, whether you are driving through sub-zero temperatures or across a surface seemingly as scorching as the sun. With a little advance preparation, however, you can make sure your summer road trip is as comfortable and safe as possible.
Here are some hot weather driving tips to think about:
- Check your fluids. Make sure your coolant, transmission, brake, power steering and window washing fluid are topped off. Also, make sure your oil is clean and within the acceptable levels. If you’re planning a long road trip, it’s a good idea to get an oil change before you leave; technicians will check all your fluids for you.
- Inspect your hoses and belts. Look them over to see if they’re dry and cracked and test them to ensure they’re tight. This can also be accomplished during an oil change visit.
- Check your battery. Extreme heat can drain a battery as easily as extreme cold.
- Check your tires. Tire pressure fluctuates with the temperature—it’s just basic chemistry. Properly-inflated tires will improve your fuel efficiency, leaving you more money to spend on the fun parts of your vacation.
- Check your air-conditioning. Vehicles absorb heat like greenhouses. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a hot box for a long period of time.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car. Keep some water, jumper cables and a flashlight in your car as a bare minimum. Also consider a first-aid kit, some non-perishable food items. Even if you take precautions and maintain your vehicle properly, accidents can happen.
- Take your time. Drive slowly during extreme heat, the same way you would in cold, inclement conditions. Your engine is already working harder than it otherwise would; there’s no need to push it even further by trying to save a few minutes.
Driving in extreme heat is unavoidable for many people. With the proper maintenance and a little forethought, you can weather the heat and arrive at your destination comfortable and safe.