Throughout the cold and frigid winter months, we dream of driving in the summer - windows down, sunroof open, and maybe, if you’re lucky enough, with the convertible top down and a warm breeze blowing across your face. The good news is that summer is here! It’s time for fun at the beach or amusement parks, road trips, and family vacations. In the heat of the summer, however, a lot of things can go wrong with even the quickest trip to the grocery store. Summer car safety awareness and regular, basic car maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, and battery checks can keep you from being stuck on the side of the road with a breakdown, or worse - stuck without a car while it’s being serviced for collision repair or an engine issue. To avoid these issues, try to keep a close eye on the following: 

Vehicle Safety & Maintenance

Lights. Make sure all lights - brake lights, headlights, interior lights, turn signals, hazards, and trailer lights - are working properly. 

Tires - air pressure, tread wear, spare. Check the air in your tires monthly. It takes just a few minutes while you’re at the gas station. Every other time you fill your tires, inspect them for excessive wear and tear. 

Heat and Engine Coolant. Low coolant levels and high temperatures up the odds of the engine overheating. Keep your coolant container full in the summer and when temperatures are high, watch your temperature gauge. If it’s rising or any warning lights go on, you may want to pull into a service station before steam starts streaming out from under the hood. 

Fluid Levels. There are several different fluids in your car that need to be maintained - transmission, brake, oil, power steering, and windshield washer fluids. Be sure to get regular oil changes and have the service clerks check all of your other fluids. If there is any indication of leaking fluids, take your vehicle in for additional services.

Pack an Emergency Roadside Kit

Even with a well-maintained car, you can still have a breakdown; therefore, it’s important to keep an emergency roadside kit packed at all times. Of course, at the top of the list is a cell phone for calling for help if necessary. Other emergency kit contents include: a cell phone charger, flashlight, first aid kit, white flag and flares, jumper cables, jack and ground mat, tire pressure gauge, work gloves, extra windshield washer fluid, basic repair tools, duct tape (for temporary hose leak repair), maps, water, paper towels, non-perishable food, medicines, blankets, towels, extra clothes, and coats. 

Avoid Wildlife Collisions

Collisions with wildlife can cause some serious damage. In some cases, you’ll end up only needing mild dent repair or chip and scratch repair. For other instances, follow these tips to avoid more serious damage:

Slow Down!  Simple. Follow the speed limit. 

Wildlife crossing signs are there for a reason, follow them. 

Keep your eyes on the road. Also, at night, look for glowing eyes in the distance. 

Dusk and dawn are when deer are most active — between 6-9pm, just when drivers find it difficult to see when heading into the sunset. 

Don’t Tailgate. If the driver in front of you brakes suddenly for an animal, you won’t have enough reaction time.

Use the Center Lane: If highway driving with more 3 or more lanes, use the center lane for more distance to animals on the side of the road.

Wear Your Seat Belt! Enough said.

As summer driving commences, so do the potential dangers that come with it. It's important to follow safety tips and the rules of the road to keep yourself and your passengers safe; however, accidents do happen and the elements can take their toll on your vehicle. For all of your restoration, autobody repair work, and collision repair needs, trust the experts at Tom's Auto Body, Inc - Delafield/Lake Country’s premier autobody shop since 1981. Call us today at (262) 646-8823 for questions or service appointments.