Keep Tires Inflated: Now that you know that hot weather can affect your tire pressure, what can you do about it? Ensure that tires are properly inflated. According to Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner’s manual, not the number on the tire. Goodyear says that nearly seven in 10 of us are driving around on underinflated tires.
Check Tire Tread: Tires with good treads help with safe driving. Try this coin test to see if your tires need replacing or not. Take a penny and insert it upside down along your treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, those treads are dead and you need new tires.
Top Off Fluids: Make sure that your fluids under the hood are all at optimal levels. Also, if you have a big road trip scheduled, you may want to get an oil change before you leave. According to Jiffy Lube, motor oil does more than just lubricate moving parts. It cools areas of the engine and provides protection over a wide temperature range. If you’ve got older motor oil, it may not do its job as well as it could.
Read Up on Recalls: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s VIN Lookup Tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall. This tool covers recalls within the last 15 years.
Replace Wiper Blades: When was the last time you put new wiper blades on your car? If it’s longer than six months, you need new ones. After six months blades stop working well and could affect your visibility while driving in the rain.
Plan for an Emergency: No one ever plans to get stuck on the side of the road, but emergencies do happen. Autotrader suggests keeping an emergency kit in your car, not only for summer road trips but also throughout the year. What should go in that kit? Jumper cables, a flashlight, paper towels, roadside flares, a first-aid kit, bottled water, car charger for cell phone, and even snacks like granola bars, among other necessities you think you might need if you got stranded.
Engine oil: Check your oil levels and the date you’re due for an oil change, preferably in your driveway before you embark on that first 29-hour leg. If you’re close to the manufacturer-recommended oil-change interval listed in your manual, then change it.
Hoses: Rubber hoses would last 10 years if all they did were sit on a shelf. In a car, they are regularly exposed to temperatures around the 212-degree boiling point. At high temps, the plasticizers that make rubber squishy leach out at a faster rate.
Battery: If the battery in your car is more than a couple years old, check that the terminals are corrosion-free and the positive and negative leads are tight. If your starter sounds sluggish, it’s either corrosion or a dying battery. Don’t wait to be stranded with a dead battery.
Never leave children or animals unattended in a vehicle. It only takes minutes for the interior temperature of a vehicle to reach dangerous levels and have tragic results.
Make sure your vehicle is ready for summer travel. Check your vehicle’s tires and radiator system. Summer temperatures place extra demands on your vehicle and it should be properly checked to ensure safe travels.
Be prepared. Even well-maintained vehicles break down sometimes. Carry an emergency kit, water, cellular telephone and charger, jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, a good spare tire, and a jack.
Get directions to your destination and chck the road and weather conditions in advance. Consult travel applications on your mobile phone or visit either the CHP’s or California Department of Transportation’s Web site.
Buckle up! Make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seat belt. Young children must be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat.
Check your surroundings for children, pets, or other pedestrians before backing out of a garage or driveway. Driver visibility can be significantly reduced on sport utility vehicles, trucks, and other large vehicles.
Have Some Ice Cream: You may laugh, but foods like ice cream bring the cold way down into your belly, helping to lower your core temperature. Yeah, a cold drink will do the job, but doesn’t compare to gelato on a hot day in Rome.