Drive into Summer Prepared

Summer Driving Tips

It's that time again: the sun is out, the mercury is rising and the kids are out of school. It's summer, and that means you'll likely be adding a few extra car trips to your already packed driving schedule. Is your car ready for the heat, the highway miles and the extra weight from luggage? You might not know it, but summer conditions can have negative effects on your vehicle and tires. Here are a few things you should know before you hit the road.

Summer driving tips

Summer is hot

Well, it's true, and heat has played a serious part in ruining many summer road trips. On a sunny summer day, pavement surface temperatures can become extremely hot, meaning you're essentially driving atop an oven as you scoot down the road. What does this mean for your car? Several things. First, you're going to want to make certain your cooling system is in top shape. This includes your car's radiator, water pump, thermostat and associated belts and hoses. Be sure to fill your radiator with a high-quality antifreeze, even in the summer (it has a higher boiling point than water), get your water pump checked out by a professional and give your belts and hoses a good visual once-over. If they look dry, cracked or loose, get your car to a mechanic.

The season can tax your tires

The heavy loads, longer distances and hot temperatures of summer trips can have negative effects on your car's tires. Fortunately, there's a few simple things you can check to make sure you roll up to your fun-in-the-sun destination safely. First, make sure your tires don't have any visible signs of damage. This includes cracks or bald spots, worn tread, punctures or bubbles. Next, make sure they're properly inflated. Use a tire gauge to check your tire pressure every month and before long trips or when carrying extra load. The vehicle manufacturer recommendations for tire pressure can be found on a label affixed to the driver's door or door jamb, or in the vehicle owner's manual. Remember that tire pressure should be checked when the tires are "cold," which means when your car hasn't been driven for three hours or for less than a mile at moderate speed. Finally, don't drive too fast or overload your car. Lowering your speed and keeping your luggage under control means better gas mileage, but it also puts less strain on your tires.

It can be dangerous out there

Summer tends to get everyone out of the house, which means more volume on the roadways, and a wider variety of drivers and vehicles than you'd normally encounter. For example, younger and less experienced drivers are on summer vacation and add to those already on the road. More motorcycles and RVs on the road during the summer, as well as countless families making their way to their vacation destination, means more crowded roads and highways. More vehicles and less experienced drivers means more opportunities to run into trouble. Be cautious and slow down when driving during the summer months.

Chance favors the prepared

While you're packing up the trunk, why not throw in a few extras that could mean the difference between an epic vacation and an epic towing charge? Mount Bridgestone DriveGuard tires on your vehicle before your trip to bypass the tow truck after a puncture. DriveGuard tires are engineered to allow you to drive up to 50 miles at a maximum speed of 50 mph after a puncture or complete loss of pressure.* At least check the inflation pressure and condition of your car's little donut tire or full-sized spare to make sure it will keep you on the road after a flat. Also, pack a quart or two of oil. Even a well-tuned engine can burn oil with sustained driving. A jug of coolant may go a long way, too.

That should do it! Be a prepared driver, and your summer vacation can go off without a hitch, despite the heat, the crowds and the potential wear and tear on your vehicle. Now put your shades on, pack up the sunscreen and get going. It's going to be a fun one this year.

*Reparability of DriveGuard tires depends on the tire damage, amount of pressure loss, and vehicle operating conditions. Contact a Bridgestone retailer for details.