It's Summer Car Maintenance Time!

Summer isn't just sunshine and trips to the beach. The high temperatures can make serious demands on your car, especially after a tough winter. And summer's the season for long road trips to visit friends, family, or just hitting the highway. Take a glance at these simple tips to make sure you car's really ready for summer - no matter how hot it gets.

Man checking the oil level of his vehicle

Make Sure the Driver's Road-Ready

The most important part of a car isn't under the hood—it's the driver. So if you're behind the wheel for a long trip during the summer, it's absolutely critical that you're rested, hydrated, and alert. Pack drinks and snacks, and don't bring food that may melt in the heat. Let other people take the wheel if you're fading—you don't win any medals for driving the whole way. Stopping periodically to walk around, stretch, and get some fresh air helps keep you more attentive and aware of what's happening on the road. And try to park in the shade on hot days—the interior temperature of a car parked in the direct sun can actually exceed 200 degrees.

A long trip doesn't have to mean repeated stops at gas stations. Tips to Increase Your Gas Mileage gives you useful pointers for going further without spending more at the pump.

Keep Your Car Hydrated

Make sure your car's fluids, including water, coolant, and windshield fluid, are topped-off and at their recommended levels so your engine runs smoothly and you can see clearly.

Remember the Essentials

Every car should have an emergency kit so you're ready for the unexpected. A properly supplied kit includes:

  • Flashlight with fresh batteries-remember, lithium batteries have a longer shelf life
  • First-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Cash (just in case)
  • Blankets (because temperatures can drop at night, no matter where you are)

Carry the Right Tools

You should always have a flashlight in your car. But rather than just buying a standard flashlight, consider an all-in-one tool that does more than light up the darkness. Some emergency flashlights also include radios and cellphone chargers. These models may be powered by electricity, solar energy, or a handcrank, so you'll be able to charge your cellphone even if your car's battery is dead.

Make Your Car Self-Reliant

A dead battery or a flat tire in the middle of nowhere can be a big problem. But you can buy products to fix these issues yourself, without making a call to your 24-hour roadside service. Several companies, for example, make battery chargers that can get your car running without jumper cables or another car nearby.

You can also find tire-inflating aerosols that fill flat tires and seal the leaks. They're not meant to be permanent replacements for damaged tires, and they won't work if your tire has been shredded. But they can be a great short-term solution and get you out of a difficult spot to safety.

Check out How to Prevent a Flat Tire for tips on ensuring a flat tire doesn't ruin your summer trip.

Stay Dry

A rain poncho and/or umbrella could make your life much better if you get caught in a downpour. Days that begin with sunshine can turn into rain despite a clear forecast. Be prepared for any weather for just a few dollars.

Keep A Clear Field of Vision

If you wear glasses, it might make sense to keep a spare pair in your car. That way, if you're in an accident and your current pair gets broken, your spares let you see what's going on.

Allstate Roadside Services Are Open to Everyone

Sometimes your car flat-out needs some roadside help. The Allstate Motor Club offers 24/7 help with roadside emergencies from flat tires to empty tanks, starting at $52 a year.

If you'd rather "pay as you go," our Good Hands® Roadside Assistance program is free to join and you only pay for the services you need - just - $75 per tow and $50 for most other services.

Make Sure Your Car Is Totally Protected

Whatever the weather, you want to make sure your car is properly protected. Get an easy no-obligation quote, call us at 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828), or find an agent near you to see how Allstate can help you save by combining policies.

Published: May 2012

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