August can be one of the most brutal months during the summer for SoCal. The heat can take a beating on your car, your kids and even your pet. Driving to the beach on a warm summer day can be a great experience unless you are unprepared for some of the consequences that heat may have on your family trip.
Here are some great tips to keep in mind, which may prove useful in times of extreme heat, something that SoCal is very familiar with.
Car Preparation for the Summer Heat
Tires – For those vehicles which come with a tire pressure sensor, it is not uncommon to notice that that the sensor is going off during extreme heat when the tires are over inflated or when it’s colder and your tires are under-inflated. Having your tires properly inflated according to the weather conditions could improve the safety and enjoyment of your ride. Before the weather gets too hot it would be wise to check your tire pressure and make sure it’s appropriate for the condition.
A/C – After several years of A/C use it may not blow as cold as when you first bought the car. There are several things which can poor cooling of your vehicle. One being that the Freon levels may not be at the proper levels. Too low or too much of it can cause inefficiency in your system and cause your vehicle to not be cooled down as much as needed. Too much of it can cause your compressor to break. Another issue which can come up is the AC condenser becomes full of road debris, bugs, dirt and the like. This causes a decrease in air flow and is another issue which can cause poor cooling.
Engine Cooling System – Just like in the A/C the proper amount of coolant needs to be in the engine. Depending on the last time your coolant was replaced you may need to do a system flush and put new coolant in. Check with a qualified mechanic to see when your vehicle needs coolant replacement. Before a long trip you may want this checked to make sure you have a safe and happy trip.
Preparing for the Hot Summer Trip Ahead:
Emergency Kit – Having the proper supplies in your car in a time of need may feel like a godsend. Having bars, or food which is long lasting as well as water, preferably not in a plastic container would be quite beneficial. Needless to say, a first aid-kit should also be included in this and maybe a change of clothes.
Car Heat – Leaving a pet or kids in the car is a big no no no. The temperature in a car can rise very quickly and to extreme temperatures (probably enough to make some sunny side eggs)! Take your kids and pets with you if you are going to a store. You may even want to consider grabbing a cooler for any food that you bring on your trip. It would not last long in extreme heat.
P.S. be careful getting into the car the steering wheel and metal seatbelt can be very hot!
Clothing – Having the proper clothes in the summer can help make quite a difference. Wearing light-weight clothes with plenty of ventilation can help to keep you and your family cool. Some synthetic clothes i.e. sportswear could work as well as light-colored cotton t-shirts can help your body to stay cool. The darker the clothes the more sunlight and heat it will trap. Reminder: to use sunscreen if you have any skin exposed!
It’s can be quite a drag when your car begins to overheat. Your car is overheating when you notice the engine temperature going above the half way point, when your vehicle has steam coming out of its engine. This can happen during extreme heat, while you’re A/C is blowing, and even more so when going uphill.
A useful tip is before going uphill turn off your A/C and in extreme conditions turn on the heat of the car with the option of using the air from the engine. This will help to pull out hot air from the engine and may help to cool it down.
While already driving if you notice your temperature gauge going slightly above half you can try the above tactic. If it doesn’t help pull over to the side of the freeway when it is safe and call a tow truck. The same would apply when you see your hood steaming or if you see smoke coming out; move away from your car if safe to do so and call the fire department if the vehicle catches fire.
Be careful when popping the hood, it may be very hot and possibly spewing out how water from the radiator. If you do decide to add water or coolant to the engine wait until it cools down. Adding a cold liquid can be detrimental to the engine when it is hot.
Doing regular maintenance on your car can help it perform its best even under rough weather conditions.
A long trip requires putting a lot of miles on your vehicle, a lot of time spent driving. Being properly insured can give you a peace of mind for your trip with one thing less to worry about.
A great idea would be to get Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage as well to possibly get medical payments. By doing this, one can help to mitigate medical deductibles someone who hit your vehicle on your trip and would not have enough insurance to cover you. If the reverse happened and your were the one at fault, Medical Payment coverage can help cover your families medical deductibles.
Speak to one of our agent about purchasing road side assistance. This is a great coverage which can help in your daily commute or on a road trip. It can turn a bad day into just having a minor speed on your trip. Getting a flat and having someone go out and fixes for you so you are back on the road can be quite a relief from having your trip potentially foiled.
Have a safe and fun rest of your summer; don’t forget summer doesn’t end until September 22! And don’t forget get to get a quote on our website here: www.sunsetplazains.com