The time between mid-June to late-August is affectionately referred to as the dog days of summer not because of the heat, but because of the position of the constellation Sirius, also called the Dog Star, back in the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans. However, over the centuries, ‘dog days’ have become associated with unbearable heat. Protecting your car from the heat is just as important as protecting it from the cold. Vehicles are vulnerable to extreme temperature exposure and you’ll be taking care not just of your car but of you and your passengers when you take the right maintenance steps.
Cars that don’t have the right protective maintenance can overheat, and if your AC stops working, you could really be sweating it out. Checking the coolant, getting the air conditioning serviced and washing and waxing tires can keep them from cracking and drying. Start the summer off right by finding car insurance quotes that best meet your policy needs so you can feel safe and secure during your summer travels and will be road-ready, wherever you may venture off to during this prolifically hot time of year.
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Check the Oil Often
The general guideline for changing oil is every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes sooner. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t check the integrity and level of the oil in between. If your car is a little older, and if you drive it often with a lot of stop and go, you’ll want to make a habit of pulling up the dipstick to check. Stock up on extra oil so if you find you’re low, you can add it right away. Always wait until the engine cools before checking!
Service the Air Conditioning
Sometimes, the heat of summer can arrive like a quick slap to the face. You’re used to the cooler, cozy temperatures and then one 90 degree day you press the A/C button only to find that it doesn’t work. Before the dog days of summer, take your vehicle to get the air conditioning serviced so that when those blistering days do arrive, you can stay cool as a cucumber.
Check the Coolant Systems
Nearly one third of car owners admit that they have been on the other end of a steaming, overheating engine at one point in their lives. This is something that can usually be avoided with a bit of preventative care. The general rule of thumb for the coolant system is to have it flushed every two years. If you’re unsure about when this was last performed, get it done anyway just in case.
Protect the Exterior Shell
It’s not just the heat that can create issues for your car; it’s the increased exposure to ultraviolet rays, too. UV rays play a huge role in oxidizing the coating on the car and cause it to change color or fade. It can even make it become brittle over time. Protect your car by:
- Washing and drying the car often
- Parking in the shade
- Waxing the vehicle
- Shield it with paint protection film
Get Tinted Windows
There are local laws that surround how deeply tinted and which windows are allowed to be tinted, so be certain to check on those first. However, getting your vehicle’s windows tinted will stop 70% of the heat from getting into your car and drying and cracking the interior – the dash, steering wheel, upholstery, etc. Not to mention the fact that when you enter the car, placing your hands on a cooler steering wheel will provide for a much more satisfying driving experience.
Check Tire Pressure Regularly
Fluctuating temperatures in the summer, from very hot afternoons to cooler mornings, can wreak havoc on tires. Plus, when they come into contact with the hot pavement, they are more likely to blow out. Check tire pressure regularly – once a month minimum, to be certain that your tires are not over or underinflated.
Use a Windshield Shade
While it might cause someone else to chuckle, seeing a highly reflective, accordion shade spread across the interior of a vehicle’s windshield, they certainly do the trick. You’ll be protecting your dashboard, upholstery, leather interior, and steering wheel from taking the brunt of the sun’s drying, peeling, and cracking rays. Very similar to getting the windows tinted, but this option is much less expensive and you won’t have to worry about any local laws.
With the dog days of summer on the brink, take steps to protect every inch of your vehicle now so you won’t have to worry about heat damage spoiling your fun summer plans.