Every year much is said about the importance of taking care of your vehicle during the winter. But what about the summer? As the warmer months approach, the temperature tends to rise high. Since most people park their car’s outside in the street or garages that are not well insulated, the heat will inevitably take its toll.
Keeping in mind the parts of your vehicle that are especially susceptible to heat damage and getting them checked by an auto repair expert can help you save money and avoid excessive wear and tear this season.
Check Your Tires:
Hot tires on the hot pavement are already a recipe for disaster, but over-inflated tires can worsen the problem. So during the summer, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure more frequently than usual. This is because tires expand when exposed to heat, causing over-inflation and increasing the pressurization inside the tire. This can lead to a blowout, and if you lose control of your car, possibly an accident and more damage than just a ruined tire.
Make sure you keep tire pressure equal to the number inside your door jamb, which most tire manufacturers recommend. Otherwise, you will be putting additional wear on your tires and replacing them sooner than necessary. It might even be worth buying a tire pressure gauge to check whenever you like or simply take it to the local auto shop to have them do it for you.
Heat also tends to have a degrading effect on the tire rubber. Since tires are made from synthetic and natural rubber compounds full of oils, the heat can leach these out and cause the tire to harden, crack, or break down. If your tires are old or near the end of their lifespan, replacing them ahead of hot weather can save you a lot of trouble.
Oil or Coolants:
The way people need to drink more water in the summer to stay hydrated, your car’s engine needs fluids to function correctly. However, a low level of coolant can kill your engine by causing it to overheat. It is thus vital to keep your engine cool so it can function at its best.
As temperatures start to rise, your engine works extra hard to keep the proper temperatures and can fail due to being overheated. Engine coolant becomes depleted over time, and its protective properties break down, so it’s crucial to have the system flushed and refilled with fresh coolant periodically. Also, ensure that coolant is filled to proper levels between the flushes by monitoring the overflow bottle. Top off the bottle with the recommended 50/50 water and coolant mixture as needed.
Worn-out hoses or damaged radiators can also lead to leaks, which can cause low coolant levels and overheating. Inspect all hoses for cracks or leaks, especially the upper radiator hose that carries hot coolant from the engine to the radiator. If it’s leaking, get it replaced immediately.
Other engine fluids that need to be checked frequently:
- Motor oil
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
Since natural evaporation occurs with all fluids when it’s hot, parking your car in the shade can help reduce this.
Vehicles tend to work better when more dense cold air is present in the car. This allows the car to take in more oxygen and produce more power. But using air-conditioning every day during summer can take a toll on your car’s engine, as the compressor puts extra strain on the engine to work and keep the car cool.
An excellent way to keep your airflow clean and fresh is by replacing your cabin air filter. Over time, the air filter gets clogged with dust and pollen, restricting airflow and making it harder for your AC to do its job. If you have noticed that the air quality in your car isn’t as good as it used to be or that your AC isn’t blowing as cold air, having an auto garage near me check to fix the issue is a good idea.
The summer heat can certainly affect your car’s battery. The warmer it is, the more corrosive the battery fluid becomes, leading to build-up on the battery terminals and eventual failure. So having an auto shop clean up any corrosion around the battery terminals and tighten the clamps to ensure a good connection is always a good idea.
Additionally, high temperatures can cause the battery fluid to evaporate, which will shorten the battery’s life. If the battery is more than three years old, it might be time to replace it entirely, as getting it replaced will be less expensive than servicing it after it fails.
Belts & Hoses:
A busted or leaking hose can lead to loss of steering control, an overheated radiator, or an engine failure that can result in a breakdown. In fact, nearly 20% of vehicles on the road have one or more damaged belts.
The probability of belt wear is even higher if your car has over 75,000 miles. In addition, intense heat can make the rubber brittle, which can cause it to snap. Have your belts and hoses checked during the summer for cracks, holes, leaks, or any other signs of wear and tear by an auto repair shop to avoid any issues.
A Few More Precautions:
Driving in heat can be taxing on your vehicle, so getting a checkup before heading out on long road trips is always good. The following are a few extra things you can keep in your car to be prepared for any situation:
- Jumper cables
- A first-aid kit
- A flashlight
- Road flares or reflectors
- An emergency whistle
- A map of the area
- A cell phone charger
- Water and snacks
- Non-perishable food items
- A small fire extinguisher
- Extra clothes and blankets
While driving, try and stick to highway driving as they are usually maintained better and can handle the heat better. If there are cracks in windshields, get them repaired as they can cause more significant problems down the line when exposed to direct sunlight and heat.
Summer heat can take a toll on your car, but regular maintenance mitigates the risks. Ensure your vehicle is safe and ready for summer driving adventures. To have your vehicle inspected by an experienced Tulsa auto repair expert, give Same Day Auto Repair a call today. Our team will ensure your vehicle is in top condition before you hit the road.