You know the importance of taking care of yourself, your kids, and your pets in the summer heat... but are you protecting your vehicle? Extreme heat can be just as dangerous as bitterly cold temperatures.
Thanks to our friends at AAA Colorado for passing along this valuable information. They're suggestions you may already know, but reminders never hurt.
First, vibration can create big problems for your car's battery... leading to internal breakdown and even failure. That's why it's a good idea to make sure the battery is securely mounted in place.
While you can't do much about the heat, realize that electronic devices like a GPS, satellite radio, and even a portable DVD player put more demand on stressed batteries.
If your battery is more than three years old, AAA says it's a good idea to have a trained technician test it. The last thing you want is to be stranded because you chose to ignore it.
Also, flush your cooling system and replace the coolant. How often depends on what your vehicle manufacturer recommends. You also want to check the overflow reservoir so you know the coolant is filled to the proper level.
Severe heat can also deteriorate rubber cooling system components. That's why you should also inspect hoses and belts for cracking and wear. Parts that are worn out should be replaced because they can fail in hot conditions.
To prevent a blowout don't drive on under-inflated tires. The Rubber Manufacturers Association says more than half of all the vehicles on the road have at least one under-inflated tire. And, 85% of drivers don't know how to properly inflate them.
Look in your owner's manual or the sticker on the driver's door jamb to see what's recommended for the front and rear tires. At the same time inspect the tire treads for any sign of uneven wear or you could have suspension and alignment problems.
AAA also suggests that you check to make sure that all fluids are filled to the proper levels. These include: motor oil, transmission, power steering, and brake fluid.
If you notice the interior of your car isn't as cool as you'd like, have a certified technician check the air conditioning system. It could be the refrigerant level is low or it may signal another problem.
Even if you do everything right, breakdowns can still occur. Emergency totes which have water, non-perishable food, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares, and first aid kits can be lifesavers so make room for them.
Enjoy the dog days of summer everywhere, including behind the wheel.
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