When you think about harsh driving conditions, many people naturally think of navigating icy roads and snowy conditions during winter. In reality, though, summertime weather conditions in many parts of the country can also give your vehicle a run for its money.
From triple-digit temperatures transforming your car into an oven to monsoon storms that can put a strain on you and your vehicle, June through late August can be a tough time of year for a car.
With all that in mind, consider the following tips to keep your car in good shape during the hottest time of the year:
1. Determine the Age of Your Tires
While many things in life get even better as they age, including wine and varieties of cheese, tires are definitely not in this category. To ensure your tires are road-ready, it’s a good idea to learn how to determine their age. Not sure how to go about it? Just look closely at the sidewall of one or more of your tires and locate what looks like a mishmash of letters and numbers.
From there, look for the part of the code that starts with “DOT,” followed by a series of 10 to 12 numbers. The last four digits indicate the manufacture date, with the first two signifying the week of the year when the tires were made and the last two illustrating the year.
For instance, if the last four digits of the code on your tires state “1016,” then you know they were manufactured in March 2016. Experts generally recommend replacing your tires every six years, regardless of the number of miles you have driven on them.
So, if you discover your tires are a bit on the older side, try to replace them as soon as you can. Between extra hot summer roads and rainstorms that can make streets slippery, you definitely want your tires to be in tip-top shape.
2. Get a Summertime Tune-Up
Much like you would bring your car in for service for a good dose of antifreeze and wintertime checkup, you should do the same during the summer. According to Car and Driver, excessive heat can wreak havoc on your car’s battery, so you or a professional should check to see if it’s in good, working condition before the hot, summer temperatures are in place.
After all, the last thing you need is to experience a dead battery on the freeway or even a mile or two from home. With that in mind, make sure your mechanic does a thorough checkup of both your battery and car’s electrical system to see if it’s charging at the correct rate.
Additionally, your car’s A/C system will work overtime during the heat, so ask your mechanic to check the cooling system and make sure the ratio of coolant to water for your radiator is at 50/50. A warm-weather tune-up will help keep your car safe for both your basic errands around town, as well as for road trips that might be on the agenda this summer.
3. Heed These Other Special Tips
Speaking of road trips, if you’re planning to embark on a long, extended journey this summer, Reader’s Digest has great advice for you. For example, invest in a solar-powered car fan that can be mounted on an open window; this way, if your A/C starts to conk out mid-trip, you’ll still stay cool behind the wheel.
Additionally, while out and about, make it a point to turn your steering wheel 180 degrees before getting out of your parked car to avoid burning your hands. You’ll also want to check your spare tire prior to an extended road trip to ensure it’s properly inflated. Oh, and don’t forget to pack plenty of water and snacks in order to stay satiated and focused on the road.
Don’t Let Summer Won’t Get the Best of Your Car
The hot summer weather can certainly be tough on your vehicle, but heat-related problems don’t have to be inevitable. By taking control of the situation and learning the age of your tires, scheduling routine maintenance and keeping some other special tips in mind, you and your car will breeze through the hot months with ease.