If you’re driving in Sacramento, you know how hot it can get on the roads. Summer temperatures reach well into the triple digits many days. Checking the status of your vehicle is extremely important to prevent heat related breakdowns.
Pay particular attention to your battery. Most drivers assume battery problems are associated with winter temperatures. Not true. Heat can be just as detrimental to a battery as winter’s frigid cold. As a matter of fact, vibration and heat are the mortal enemies of a car battery causing internal failure and eventual breakdown.
Battery fluids dry up and evaporate faster in hot temperatures. This leads to corrosion on the terminals and in the connections. It can help to make sure the terminals are tightly connected and free of any corrosion that has already formed. Have the battery tested by a registered technician, especially if it is over three years old.
Since engines work overtime in hot conditions, it is a must to keep your engine cool. Performing proper cooling system maintenance ensures that the engine and radiator components are kept free of corrosion and guards against excess wear.
Coolants can become corroded and full of debris after a while. It is a good idea to flush the coolant from the radiator periodically. Every 24,000 miles is the basic recommendation. New vehicles will have a recommended mileage for the specific type of vehicle. Between flushes the coolant must be filled to proper levels to maintain proper cooling.
Tires should also be filled adequately. Poorly inflated tires can cause an accident very easily. Low tires overheat quickly and are more liable to blowout. The Rubber Manufacturers Association reported recently that more than half of tires on American roadways are underinflated and nearly 85% of American motorists do not know how to properly inflate or gauge their tires.
Have your air conditioner checked by a professional in the field before any long trips. Take special care to clean off the air vents of any dead leaves or debris as well. Keeping the air flowing is important during extreme heat conditions. Not all drivers are aware of it, but keeping the radiator free of debris and sufficiently flushed is also important to keep cool.
All fluids are important in hot temperatures. Not only do fluids serve as coolants but also lubricants. When temperatures soar check water, brake fluid, oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluid to keep the vehicle running at its optimum.
Even if you are the world’s most cautious driver and have implemented all the excessive heat driving tips, trouble may still strike. Car accidents happen and sometimes emergencies can’t be avoided. In these instances it is extremely helpful and sometimes life-saving to have an emergency kit in the vehicle.
Heat related illnesses happen all the time and can be deadly. Dehydration can occur from extreme heat and no water to replenish the water a human body loses. The elderly and the very young are particularly susceptible to extreme heat conditions. Those who are sick, overweight or over extended also are at risk. To be safe, if an emergency situation occurs in extreme heat, do all that is possible to avoid physical activity until temperatures recede, such as at night.
Pack you car with necessities for an extended exposure to heat, just in case. Things like bottled water, sunburn cream and a metallic sun shade are indispensable. The kit should also include nonperishable food stuffs, flashlights and batteries, firs aide and jumper cables to ensure the best chance at rescue in a disastrous situation.
Preparing for extreme heat driving isn’t a first impulse. Most people do not anticipate an accident or tragedy. Being one step ahead of the game can possible save your life. Preparing for a summer of triple digit temperatures takes only a few minutes but can make a lifetime of difference when you’re stranded in the heat.