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6 Summer Car Care Tips in the Extreme Heat

Summer can be tough on cars, especially during high temperatures when heat can destroy batteries and stress the cooling system and tires. As a precaution, these vehicle components should be checked periodically during summer to help avoid breakdowns and car problems.

1. Keep Tires Inflated

Now that you know that hot weather can affect your tire pressure, what can you do about it? Ensure that tires are properly inflated. According to Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner’s manual, not the number on the tire. Goodyear says that nearly seven in 10 of us are driving around on underinflated tires.

2. Check Tire Tread

Tires with good treads help with safe driving. Try this coin test to see if your tires need replacing or not. Take a penny and insert it upside down along your treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, those treads are dead and you need new tires.

3. Top Off Fluids

Make sure that your fluids under the hood are all at optimal levels. Also, if you have a big road trip scheduled, you may want to get an oil change before you leave. According to Jiffy Lube, motor oil does more than just lubricate moving parts. It cools areas of the engine and provides protection over a wide temperature range. If you’ve got older motor oil, it may not do its job as well as it could.

4. Read Up on Recalls

We just received a letter from Honda, letting us know that our 2003 Honda Accord is a part of the airbag recall that’s been in the news lately. Turns out the driver’s side and passenger side airbags need to be replaced. Other drivers may not be aware that they have a recalled vehicle and that it still needs to be repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s VIN Lookup Tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall. This tool covers recalls within the last 15 years.

5. Replace Wiper Blades

When was the last time you put new wiper blades on your car? If it’s longer than six months, you need new ones. After six months blades stop working well and could affect your visibility while driving in the rain.

6. Plan for an Emergency

No one ever plans to get stuck on the side of the road, but emergencies do happen. Autotrader suggests keeping an emergency kit in your car, not only for summer road trips but also throughout the year. What should go in that kit? Jumper cables, a flashlight, paper towels, roadside flares, a first-aid kit, bottled water, car charger for cell phone, and even snacks like granola bars, among other necessities you think you might need if you got stranded.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council's Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org/.

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