Fact or fiction: Car tires melt in extreme heat? .... If you said fiction, give yourself a star.
And what about this one: Very high temperatures can cause tire pressure to increase so much it can cause your tire to explode? .... That's a fact.
While we're used to being continually hot in the South during the summer months, this year's unprecedented temperatures have brought new meaning to "hot."
And that brings up potential situations you should be aware of regarding driving in extreme heat that you haven't really had reason to be concerned about in the past.
Here are 7 must-know facts to help you remain safe while driving in this summer's sweltering sun:
1. When you first crank up your vehicle, it's natural to immediately turn the AC on full blast. Doing this can put extreme stress on your windows because of the difference between its outside temp versus its inside temp. This can actually cause your windows to shatter. (Click here to see what that looks like.)
2. Did you know tire shops refer to the summer as tire blow-out season? The increased temps cause tire pressure to rise, which can cause over-inflation. Especially if your tires are worn, that pressure can be enough to cause an explosion or blow-out. Depending on your speed and other driving conditions, this can cause you to have a wreck.
3. Driving with under-inflated tires can also make you more susceptible to a blow-out because the tire's components flex more, make it weaker, and cause enough internal damage to create a sudden explosion.
4. It's natural to avoid potholes regardless of the outside temperature, but in extreme heat hitting a pothole can cause your tires to either go flat or suddenly blow-out. So, be extra cautious driving on roads with potholes.
5. Enough about tires. What about the effect that extremely hot (or cold) temps have on batteries? Extreme temps can cause an electric vehicle (EV) to lose battery charge much quicker than normal, increasing the need for more frequent charging. So when you're planning a long trip in an EV, anticipate needing extra time to get to your destination(s) and chart routes where you know you'll have plentiful charging resources.
6. If you drive a non-EV, you still need to pay attention to your battery because it will work harder, too. Excessively hot temps can cause battery fluid to evaporate more quickly or worse, blow up in extreme cases. So, definitely put this on your checklist to monitor its charge and fluid level.
7. Check your other fluids, too, to make sure they stay at adequate levels. This includes your oil which can thin out in hot temps and compromise the lubrication of your engine.
I could keep going, but the point is to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation by knowing what to expect and by planning accordingly.
That includes making sure you know what your vehicle policy covers (and doesn't cover.) A quick call to me to review your coverage and to make any needed changes prior to heading out on the road can give you great peace of mind: 706-726-1446.