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Summer Driving Tips

colorado road tripGreeley Auto Service Repair Center

Summer is coming, the kids will be out of school, the sun will be out, and it’ll be time for a vacation. Whether you’re planning a long trip or simply need to keep your car running for one more summer, there is going to be a risk of the engine overheating. In addition, long trips with heavy loads can quickly use up gas, so it’s best to play it safe this summer.

Here are a few summer driving tips to get you started.

Tune Up the Vehicle

Of main concern when driving in the summer is the risk of the engine overheating since that can very quickly ruin your car. Preventing this begins with an automotive checkup. Mainly, you’ll want to look at:

  • The engine cooling system, including the radiator, coolant levels, belts and hoses, fans, water pump, thermostat, and the heater core
  • Your tires, especially since long trips will put a massive strain on them
  • The steering, suspension, and transmission systems
  • The oil
  • Air conditioning, which is connected to the engine cooling system on certain models

The majority of car breakdowns can be prevented with proper vehicle maintenance, so making sure your car gets the service it needs prior to heading out on vacation is an absolute must.

Watch Your Speed

On trips where you’re carrying a heavy load (such as a trailer for a camping excursion), you’re putting a lot of strain on your car. Slowing down a little will help keep your engine from overheating from the sheer power it takes to haul that much weight around, often against the wind or uphill. In addition, you’ll not only keep your engine from overheating, but you’ll also save on gas.

Watch the Temperature Gauge

The temperature gauge is there for a reason. If you notice the indicator starting to rise, there are a few things you can do to prevent a disaster. These include:

  • Turn on the heat: This will divert some of the heat from the engine into the cabin. The drive may get uncomfortable, but doing this can prevent a breakdown.
  • Slow down: Again, the weight your car has to move around will put strain on the engine, causing it to work harder and overheat. Reduce speed and let the engine cool off a little.
  • Pull over: If the indicator is reaching the red zone, pull over and let the engine cool. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing it to overheat, which will ruin the engine and result in costly repairs, not to mention a huge damper on your vacation.

Keeping an eye on the temperature gauge will help ensure you get to your destination safely without the need for repairs.

Pack for an Emergency

Finally, before you get out on the road this summer, pack a few items in the trunk, such as:

  • Extra coolant
  • Extra oil
  • A spare tire
  • Duct tape
  • Tools
  • Flares
  • A jack

Another thing that probably goes without saying is to keep your cell phone handy while driving. Just don’t use it until you pull over.

With the right precautions, you can make sure your car makes it through the summer without a hitch. If it does break down, packing a few emergency items will at least ensure you get the help you need while keeping everyone safe.

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