When the temperature increases, decrease your risk on – and off – the road with these safety tips:
1. Check those tires. You’re already checking your tire pressure every month, right? Even if you are (most of us don’t), keep a closer eye on them during the warm months. Extreme AZ heat can increase tire pressure rapidly.
2. Keep cool under the hood and inside your car. If you don’t remember the last time you had your engine coolant checked and flushed (mechanics recommend flushing and refilling every two years), now is probably a good time – before you hit the road. Give your air conditioning a test run, too. If it’s not cooling you down, get it serviced.
3. Act quickly if your car starts to overheat. When your car’s temperature moves above the halfway mark on the dashboard, try turning off your air conditioning and turning on your heat to give your engine a break. Pull over if it’s safe to do so, and give your engine even more of a break. Call for roadside assistance if there’s steam or smoke, and get away from the car if it’s smoke. More of a do-it-yourselfer? Be careful opening the hood of an overheated car, and don’t add coolant or water until the car cools down.
4. See to the comfort – and safety – of your passengers. Within just 10 minutes of parking your car on a 100+ degree day, the interior temperature can hit upwards of 120 degrees. Don’t leave kids or pets in a parked car, even for just a few minutes, and bring plenty of water for the trip. The back seats and cargo areas of many cars don’t get as much air as the fronts seats, so make sure your kids, both human and furry, stay hydrated.
5. Mind your battery. The desert heat is known to drain the life out of a vehicle’s battery, according to the Car Care Council. The organization offers tips to keep your car battery from falling victim to the Arizona summer temperatures, including testing the battery regularly and keeping the top of the battery clean
6. Sunglasses for your car. Tinted windows help reduce heat, glare and UV exposure. Be sure they adhere to Arizona state laws on tinting application.
7. Keep 'em cracked. AZ residents will tell you that cracking your windows keeps the inside of your car from turning into an oven. Extremely hot temperatures over time can cause interior surfaces to fade and deteriorate. Leaving your windows cracked an inch or two will create enough space to vent the hot air and makes a big impact on how hot your car gets inside.
8. Proceed with caution in an electric car. High temperatures (and cold ones, too) can reduce the charge of your battery, sometimes by as much as 40 percent. You’ll want to take that into account when planning a trip.
Different seasons bring different car maintenance needs in Arizona. Follow these tips to help make sure you and your car both stay cool in the heat.