As we head into the hottest part of the summer here in the Metroplex—yes, it seems like we’re already there, but the hottest months are typically July and August—it’s important to make sure that your car is in optimal working order. You certainly don’t want your vehicle breaking down or to end up in a car wreck that leaves you stuck waiting in what has already been record-breaking high temperatures.
- First, be sure to check and top off all your fluid levels. Depending on the year your car was made, these may include oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid. And don’t forget to check the level of your windshield cleaner. Dry, dusty air and insects prevalent in the summer months can leave a film along with other debris on your windshield and affect the quality of your visual field. You should also inspect the cleaner spray nozzles and your wiper blades and replace them if they don’t work properly.
- Next, check your tires and tire pressure. Look for cuts, gouges, and sidewall bulges and make sure there is plenty of tread on them. And don’t neglect your spare tire. When you check the tire pressure, make sure your tires are cool. Always inflate them to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Examine your car battery cable connections and be sure all cables and hardware are secure. It would also be wise to have your battery checked to see how much life is left in it.
- High temperatures can be hard on rubber drive belts and hoses. Inspect and replace them if they are brittle, bulging, worn, cracked, or frayed. Even if they look fine, drive belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles.
- Good, working brakes are critical no matter what the weather. When we get the occasional summer rain shower that provides respite from the intense heat, we have another driving hazard to worry about—slick roads. Have the brakes checked regularly to be sure they can stop you on wet pavement.
- Be sure to have your air conditioner serviced, if you haven’t already. A well-working air conditioner isn’t just about your comfort. It’s also about your safety. Heat exhaustion can be a real concern when temperatures skyrocket. Dizziness, confusion, and even unconsciousness can result from heat exhaustion.
- Before you get on the road, AAA recommends that you make sure you have an emergency kit and supplies in your car in case you’re stranded because of car trouble or a wreck. In the summer, this should include:
- Cell phone with a car charger
- First-aid kit
- Drinking water and snacks
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit with basic tools, duct tape, road flares or reflectors
- A tarp, raincoat, gloves
- Shop rags, paper towels, or pre-moistened wipes
If you do end up stuck outside of your car due to a breakdown or car crash, you’ll be extra glad if you prepared for the situation in advance. Have a hat, sunglasses, sunblock and even a long-sleeved shirt on hand to protect yourself from the blazing sun. And while you wait for help, be sure to stay hydrated!
Here at Accident and Injury Chiropractic, we want you to stay safe on the road during these hot days of summer. And if you do happen to get in a car crash, come to one of our 11 clinics. We’ll give you the Pro Treatment and help you get back to your summer activities ASAP.