Summer is here. That means summer road trips, heading to barbecues, and in Texas — driving in the heat. With all that comes a few Summer driving mistakes.

While they may seem harmless, some of the Summer driving mistakes could lead to costly repairs and tickets. Both are things that could easily ruin your Summer. And after we’ve spent so much of 2020 and 2021 inside, we all deserve to have a fun Summer!

7 Summer Driving Mistakes, Northwest Auto Center of Houston

Summer Driving Mistakes

1) Not Checking Your Vehicle’s Fluid Levels

Your engine fluids keep your engine running by lubricating and cooling off the various parts and removing the heat. Unfortunately, while they are working hard as lubricating and cooling agents, the Texas heat takes its toll on all fluids. If these fluid levels dip because of leakage, their cooling abilities do as well, which can lead to an overheated vehicle.

Now is a great time to check all of your car’s fluid levels. That list includes:

  • Transmission Fluid
  • Brake Fluid
  • Coolant
  • Motor Oil
  • Power-Steering Fluid

2) Not Maintaining Your Car’s Air Conditioning

Like you protect your engine from the heat, you need to protect yourself and your passengers.

If you notice that your AC is taking longer to blow cold air or not working as efficiently, stop by your local auto shop. When the temperatures start to soar, it’s essential to keep everyone cool — especially when sharing the car with young children or animals.

If you are noticing a strong odor, or the volume of air coming out of the dashboard vents has diminished, it’s time to check your cabin air filter!

3) Driving on Under-Inflated Tires

We’ve all seen the videos of the eggs cooking on the blacktop of a street in the heat. It’s a testament to just how hot our roadways can get!

But, if you’re driving on under-inflated tires, a blowout may be in your future. As the tire touches the road, it also begins heating up, and when that road is extra hot, that pace quickens. As it heats up, the tire expands until it eventually blows (happening quicker when they are under-inflated).

4) Ignoring New Noises

As your vehicle braves the heat, that same heat isn’t very kind to your car’s parts — including the belts and hoses.

Especially with Texas’ dry heat, it can cause belts and hoses to begin cracking and become brittle. Some early signs of this will be chirping and squeaking noises. So, if you start to hear some new sounds, it’s time to make an appointment for your vehicle.

5) Heading Out on a Road Trip Without Giving Your Car a Once Over

This is one of the more common Summer driving mistakes. Why? Because you’ve been driving your car, so why would you need to look it over before leaving on a road trip or visiting family? It’s working.

True. It may be working great. But have you checked out your headlights or blinkers? Is your license plate light working? As you travel further from home, you’ll encounter more law enforcement, and if your lights are not correctly working, that means a ticket.

So do yourself a favor, give your car a once over before leaving on your trip. It may save you an added expense and possibly being on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle!

6) Being in a Hurry

We’ve all been cooped up at home for quite some time now. So with BBQs and events happening, we want to get there — and get there now!

Make sure you leave plenty of time to make it to your destination on time. Plan for a little more traffic than what we have seen in the past year, expect more folks on the road and prepare for things to take a tad longer than expected.

Rushed and frantic drivers cause many accidents. Don’t be a part of that statistic.

7) Driving Under the Influence

Perhaps the worst Summer driving mistake you can make: driving while drunk. With driving services at our fingertips, there is no excuse for this mistake. Not only is it costly to you, but it also endangers those around you.

So, if you find yourself at a BBQ, party, concert, or event and you’re over the legal limit, leave your car and hop in an Uber, Lyft, or taxi.

Keep Your Car Happy in the Heat

Summer driving mistakes can leave you on the side of the road — not where you want to be. It’s essential to keep your car happy in the heat. If you’re in the Houston area and in need of a car tune-up or vehicle repair, contact Northwest Auto Center at (281) 894-8880.