Suggestions For Cool Excursions On Hot August Nights
Summer still has plenty of time for adventure and memories, and it’s also a time when families prepare for kids returning to the classroom.
Since those hot August nights can fray your nerves and place extra stress on your vehicle, pay close attention to your vehicle’s late-summer condition.
For starters, consider a comprehensive car safety inspection. The changing seasons and potential wear and tear from summer travels demand extra attention to ensure your vehicle remains in top condition. A well-maintained car not only provides a smooth ride but also enhances safety for you and your passengers.
Address some common end-of-summer maintenance tips for your family’s back-to-school safety:
- Get your brakes checked. Kids are back in school and we all know what that means…overcrowded crosswalks. Be on the watch for unpredictable children, especially in school zones. Children may cross the street without looking or run in front of the school bus. Having a reliable brake system can help prevent accidents.
- Alignment. Encounter any road construction this summer? Curbs and potholes? Freeway obstructions? Problems with your vehicle alignment can cause steering issues and tire damage.
- Washer fluid. Top off washer fluid to be ready for summer and early fall rains. Roads are the dirtiest in the fall after dust and grime collect on roads during the summer.
- Inspect tires. Use a pressure gauge to check air pressure and check for wear. Check the spare as well.
- Wiper blades. Hot summer sun hardens and cracks wiper blades. Replace them to keep your windshield streak free for your remaining summer outings and back-to-school excursions. And you will be prepared for those random September rains.
- Cabin air filter. Dust and pollen are the bane of summer. Keep your cabin clean and reduce allergens by replacing cabin air filters. It’s an affordable way to improve cabin health for all occupants.
- Engine air filter. Dust and other contaminants from road trips collect in your vehicle’s air intake system. Improve engine performance by replacing this important and affordable item.
- Leaks and drips. Have a certified technician examine the exhaust system for leaks as well as common areas that could lead to serious problems: ball joints, brake fluid lines, engine gaskets and radiator fluid.
- Battery charge test. Before you head out for one last summer adventure, get your vehicle battery inspected. An old battery may go dead on a cool mountain night.
- Climate control system. Do the heater and defroster work properly? Yes, it may still be hot outside but the end of summer is a great time to check your vehicle’s heating system before it gets too cold.
- Engine belts. Like other rubber-based components, belts wear quickly and may stretch in hot weather. For example, serpentine belts stretch and crack over time. A tensioner on the belt helps them stay taut, yet it may need adjustment. Get all engine belts checked for signs of wear.
- Tire pressure. One sure way to wear down your tires includes having too little pressure or, as can happen in summer, too much pressure. Keep a digital pressure pump handy. They’re inexpensive and a fast way to check tires at home.
- Check the condition of your tires when you check the air pressure. Look for uneven tread wear. Inspect tread depth by looking for the wear bars on the tires. If the tread is worn to the point of replacement, you should see a smooth bar across the tread.
A few additional tips to prepare your car for end-of-summer and back-to-school activities:
- Use Organizers and Storage Solutions. Invest in car organizers and storage solutions to keep essentials like school supplies, snacks, and electronics organized and easily accessible. Hanging organizers, seat-back organizers, and trunk organizers can help declutter and maintain a tidy interior.
- Protect Seats and Floor Mats. Use seat covers and all-weather floor mats to protect your car's upholstery from spills, stains, and wear. These accessories are easy to clean and maintain, extending the life of your car's interior.
- Use Seat Back Protectors. If you have kids in the backseat, consider using seat back protectors. These covers shield the back of the front seats from dirty shoes, scuffs, and spills, preserving the upholstery's condition.