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7 Summer Car Tips Every Driver Should Know

Quick fixes for some of the most common summer driving dilemmas.

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Steering wheelPhoto: Shutterstock

Scorching steering wheel?

Prevent burning your hands with this trick: Turn the wheel 180 degrees before getting out of the car. That way, the side you touch is safely in the shade while you’re out. Genius!

Here’s what it could mean if your steering wheel shakes.

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Friends driving in car during summerPhoto: Shutterstock

Hot interior?

Cool down more quickly by driving with the windows rolled down and the air cranked up, which forces out the hot air and allows the cool air to circulate. In a few minutes, when the air inside the car should be about the same temperature as the air outside, you’re ready to roll up the windows.

Psst—here’s why you should never leave a water bottle in a hot car.

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Leather car seatsPhoto: Shutterstock

Stinky seats?

A hot car can also mean a smelly car. To get rid of the stench, tape a dryer sheet onto the air conditioning. When you blast the AC, your ride will get a refresher too. Stash a box of dryer sheets under the passenger seat for maximum deodorizing as you drive.

These car interior cleaning tips can also help keep odours at bay.

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Air conditioning system in carPhoto: Shutterstock

Broken AC?

If your car’s air conditioning isn’t working or just needs an extra boost, try a solar-powered car fan. These tiny devices can be mounted on an open window, expelling hot air from the car while creating constant air circulation. Note: Tinted windows interfere with this gadget’s function.

Here are more secrets your mechanic won’t tell you.

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Tire and coin trickPhoto: Shutterstock

Blown-out tire?

Be prepared. Tires are more prone to blowouts in the hot summer months, because drivers are often on a sizzling road with the heavier loads for longer periods of time. Under-inflated tires are most at risk, since the lack of air pressure puts the tires’ components under increased strain; but overinflated ones are more likely to hydroplane in a summer rainstorm. (Here’s how to check tire pressure like the pros.) Periodically check your tread by sticking a penny into the groove of the tire with the head facing inward. If you can see the top of the head, it’s time for a new set.

Check out more tips to make your car tires last.

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Check engine lightPhoto: Shutterstock

Engine overheated?

Hot temperatures and low coolant levels increase the risk of your engine overheating, and your AC working overtime. If you see symptoms of an overheated engine—the temperature gauge rising; warning lights; steam billowing out from the hood—pull over to a safe place, turn off the engine, and wait at least a half hour for it to cool down fully before opening the hood. If your coolant levels are low, topping off the tank (it’s the translucent plastic one) could do the trick, but if the tank is empty you might have sprung a leak and will need professional help.

Find out 10 car repairs you’ve probably wasted money on.

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Windshield visorPhoto: Shutterstock

Fading finishes?

Spending time in the sun is just as bad for your car as it is for you, as sun damage can cause paint and interiors to fade. To prevent problems, park in a garage when possible and invest in a sunshade.

Now that you’ve got these summer car tips under your belt, check out 18 clever car hacks that make driving so much better.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest