Here Are Your Top Six Summer Driving Tips

Illustration for article titled Here Are Your Top Six Summer Driving Tips

As I was wrestling with a 27-inch mosquito during yesterday’s sunset, I realized that summer is here and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. After the mosquito finally collapsed thanks to my high blood-alcohol level, I dispatched it with a crowbar and then immediately set to writing these crucial summer driving tips, just for you.


Summer’s a great time to drive, but it also puts hot, humid demands on your car! Follow these tips and I’m sure your automotive summer will be safe and fun.

1. If you drive an air-cooled car, keep a flask of chilled air in your trunk at all times.

According to my latest research, air-cooled cars are absolutely going to be the next big thing in motoring. I drive an air-cooled car, and I can absolutely tell you that as summer temperatures rise, so does your engine’s temperature.


Remember, all that hot, ambient air is your coolant, so when it gets hot, there’s that much less cooling it can do for your engine. That’s why I suggest a 1-2 liter supply of cool, mountain air be kept at the ready at all times. On a long, hot drive, pull over and pour that crisp, bracing mountain air all over your engine.

Your engine will be refreshed and ready to go!

2. When driving, beware of heat-induced mirages

The interactions between hot asphalt and the air can sometimes cause strange visual effects, and a good driver should be able to discern reality from mirage in an instant.

Puddles of water, wavy apparitions, and ghostly, floating castles are all common sights on summer roads, and to drivers not expecting them, they can cause dangerous driving behavior when a driver swerves suddenly in an attempt to avoid hitting, say, an illusory shimmering goat.

Occasionally, but especially during the summer solstice, drivers may encounter the image of our lord Uklu, the many-eyed-one, hovering over the road. In that instance, it is not a mirage, and drivers are encouraged to drive right into Uklu’s fiery embrace.


3. Make sure your A/C is charged only with approved refrigerants

Ever since the freon-based refrigerant R-22 was banned in the Chilly Wars of 2010, new refrigerants have been used for car A/C systems, most notably R-134 and R-134a. There will be plenty of places that will try to sell you illegal Freon or the blood of deceased actor Jack Klugman, known to scientists to be the coldest liquid on earth.


This cover of You’re So Vain sung by Jack Klugman is often used as a code in places that offer the illegal refrigerant:

DO NOT USE THESE REFRIGERANTS! Using them will cause severe damage to your car’s aircon system, and possibly death by execution if the government learns you have recharged your A/C illegally. Also, it should be noted that violating refrigerant laws can upset Uklu, god of the claws, and that’s never a good look.


4. Replace your winter snow chains with DOT-approved sun chains

Like most drivers, you very likely are planning to keep your winter snow chains on your tires until the beginning of June. Once you remove the snow chains, don’t fall into the trap of driving chainlessly; be sure to get a set of DOT-approved heat-discrantulating ‘sun chains’ for your tires.


As any six-year-old can tell you, discrantulating composite molth pads are the perfect thing for managing the thermal balance between your tires and the road. To guarantee an ideal Calavander’s Thermal Gradient, and with that, ideal tire-to-road grip, you really have to use sun chains.

Otherwise your car will suffer from chronic midsteer and periodic camber inversion. Don’t be a statistic!


5. Test your oil with the gargle-test to be sure it’s the proper viscosity

It’s well understood that heat breaks down oil viscosity. In summer, when overall temperatures are higher, underhood temperatures rise as well, and this can affect the performance of your motor oil.


In order to be certain that your oil will maintain the minimum required viscosity to keep your car’s internal bits well-lubed, you can always perform a simple oil gargle-test to be certain.

All you have to do is swig a mouthful of your preferred oil, gargle vigorously for at least two minutes, and then disgorge the oil onto an angled panel, like a piece of posterboard or a sheet of plywood.


By timing the sputum’s travel over a set distance, you’ll be able to extrapolate the oil’s performance. Check your car’s ‘sputum-speed’ chart, usually placed on a sticker on the underside of the hood, to be sure your oil is adequate.

6. Should you use foldable windshield sunshades?

You know those cardboard things that have sunglasses on one side and CALL POLICE on the other? They’re designed to keep the sun’s powerful rays from hitting the inside of your car. Are they worth using?


Sure, they give your car a classy, top-tier one-percent sort of look, but do they really help? Recent studies by the University of South Marmot suggest that while UV light is reduced by 46 percent and overall interior temperatures can be lowered by an average of 4° Celcius, the very act of blocking the life-giving rays of the sun is abhorrent to Uklu, giver of fire, sower of confusion, the great and terrible. We must never be abhorrent to almighty Uklu.

Enjoy your summer driving! Stay safe!

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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