Texas Summers & Driving in Extreme Heat
Extreme road conditions take a toll on our vehicles. The heat and dust of the Texas summer can put your driving conditions into the “severe driving” category. Other summer driving habits like stop-and-go traffic and pulling trailers or boats behind the vehicle increase wear, especially in the high heat. Learn the signs and proper steps to prevent your car from breaking down.
One of the biggest concerns of hot weather driving is the engine overheating. An overheated engine can result in mechanical failure and engine damage. As the cooling system has to work harder in summer months to maintain proper engine temperature, make sure you’re up to date on routine cooling system maintenance. Belts and hoses should be inspected for any leaks or holes. Coolant should be flushed and refilled once every two years, and the level of fluid checked periodically during the summer months.
If you are driving in exceptionally hot weather, check the engine’s temperature gauge to make sure the vehicle isn’t overheating. If it is, avoid breakdown by running the heat (this pulls hot air away from the engine), or pulling off the road and parking in the shade until the engine cools down.
It’s important to test a vehicle’s air conditioning system at the beginning of summer. If the air isn’t blowing at its peak force and temperature, or if there’s a strange odor or sound, see an AC technician to service the vehicle. A good AC system free of leaks and debris is essential to comfortable and safe driving during the summer months.
It’s always a good idea to test the vehicle’s battery before the height of summer and get an idea of how much life is left on the current battery. Hot summer weather takes a high toll on the life of a battery. No one wants to be stuck with a dead battery in the hot sun of a grocery store parking lot just after buying a cart full of frozen food! A qualified mechanic will be able to estimate how much power is left in the battery and advise when to replace it.
Just in case you get stranded in the heat, always be prepared. Carry bottled water, a first aid kit, a car cell phone charger, and know who to contact in case of a roadside emergency. Other emergency supplies that can be useful in summer heat, especially on long trips, include a flashlight, road flares, wide-brimmed hats, tire sealant, energy snacks, and a portable car battery charger or jumper cables.
Kids and Pets
And of course, never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle in hot weather, even with the windows open–a parked car on a warm day can reach 120 degrees in mere minutes. Be sure to bring enough water and snacks along for kids and pets to prevent dehydration and discomfort. Retractable sunshades or car curtains in backseat windows can also help ease rear passenger discomfort on hot sunny days while driving.
Virtual Drive of Texas is a state-approved online driver’s education school offering affordable parent-taught courses for teens as well as adult driver’s education. To learn more about Virtual Drive of Texas, give us a call at (806) 352-9558 or head over to our website.