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Don’t let the summer heat take a toll on your ride and deter your road trip plans.

The summer heat can be stressful on cars, but by thoroughly checking out your car beforehand, you’ll avoid some of the most common hot weather problems and have a smooth ride to your destinations. How to get started:

  1. Watch your tire pressure.

When temperatures rise, the tire pressure changes, which can tax your tires and, left unchecked, create a dangerous situation. An underinflated tire will push out on the sidewalls, making the tire prone to dreaded summer blowouts; an overinflated tire will reduce the tread’s ability to grip the road, leading to hydroplaning in wet conditions. Check tire pressure before you go, and adjust accordingly. (Proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located onthe driver’s doorjamb. The PSI shown on the tire itself is the maximum allowed.)

  1. Keep your car running cool in the heat.

Idling in traffic in the summertime can overheat your car. Air stops moving across the engine, which helps keep it cool. Problems arise when the levels of coolant, or antifreeze, which is pumped through the engine to keep the temperature down, aren’t what they should be. To keep your engine happy and mild-tempered, flush the radiator every two years and keep the coolant current by checking its levels periodically. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended timing.

  1. Inspect your car’s battery.

Batteries can become overexerted in the heat—they can overcharge and if the internal fluids evaporate, they quickly die. To prevent this, check the battery along with its fluids, and closely examine the connecting cables, which should be clean and secure. For a free instant battery quote, go to

  1. Check your filters, hoses and belts.

Dirty air filters mean the engine has to work harder. Cracked hoses and belts also reduce fuel efficiency—even worse, they can blow or break, shutting down the engine. Replace the air filter, if needed, before you pack up the car, and make sure the hoses and belts are pliable, soft and well-attached.

  1. Change your oil.

Fresh oil and a new filter will help de-stress your car’s summer engine, and depending on the make and model, this is probably needed every 3,000 to 7,500 miles (check your owner’s manual for recommended mileage intervals). To know when it’s time to change them. Check the dipstick. If the oil is a bright golden color, it’s good; if it’s murky or dark, it’s time for a change.