When we think about taking care of the internal components of our car, we typically associate car problems with winter. However, heat can also push a vehicle past its limits. All Star Automotive recommends drivers address five key areas of their vehicle to ensure it survives the high temperatures. Remember, a safe vehicle means a safer you!
Heat can zap the life from batteries
Heat can negatively impact a car’s battery even more than the bitter cold of winter! Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies! While drivers can’t do much to reduce the outside temperatures, they can take a few steps to reduce vibration caused by heat like making sure your battery is securely mounted in place.
High temperatures can also cause increased evaporation of battery fluid, leading to corrosion on terminals and connections. Clean any corrosive build-up from the battery terminals and cable clamps, and ensure the clamps are tight enough so they will not move.
Also, if your vehicle’s battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by one of our trained technicians to determine how much longer it will last. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it on location!
Keep your engine cool
Automobile engines work extra hard in high temperatures- it’s the cooling system’s job to protect the engine from overheating. In addition, additives in the coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the odds of long-term engine damage definitely increase!
Over time, engine coolant becomes contaminated, which causes the effectiveness of their protective additives to decrease. Your vehicle’s system should be flushed and the coolant replaced periodically, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Most modern-day coolants are good for at least five years and 50,000 miles! Be sure to check your owner’s manual or maintenance booklet to determine the service interval appropriate for your vehicle. Your system will have an overflow reservoir, which will tell you if your coolant is filled to the proper levels.
Rubber cooling system components are also susceptible to deterioration caused by the heat, so be sure to inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking or other signs of poor condition. Worn parts are more susceptible to failure in hot conditions and should be replaced!
Avoid excessive heat where the rubber meets the road
Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it can also cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. Obviously, in the high temperatures, overheating of tires becomes even more of a concern!
If you haven’t driven your vehicle in a while, tires should be checked and inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer before you get behind the wheel. Manufacturer recommended tire pressures can be found on a sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb, inside the glove-box, or inside the fuel filler flap. If the tires on your vehicle are not the tires originally provided with the vehicle, please contact the current tire manufacturer for the recommended tire pressure. Drivers also need to inspect the tire treads for any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.
Cars need fluids during extreme heat
Engine fluids are essential to keep a vehicle running smoothly. Fluids do a lot more than lubricate- they also serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components of your vehicle’s system. When fluid levels are low, this cooling effect they are supposed to provide is reduced, and the possibility of overheating increases! Drivers should check all vehicle fluids such as motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. When topping off fluids, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual. Frequent topping off of fluids may indicate a problem, and this is the case, have your vehicle inspected and repaired as soon as possible!
Cool passengers are happy passengers
During high temperatures, a properly operating air conditioning system can be more than just a pleasant convenience. Air conditioning plays an intricate role in maintaining a comfortable driving environment for driver and passengers- a comfortably cool vehicle reduces fatigue and ultimately keep drivers alert and safe. If a car’s air conditioning is not maintaining the interior temperature as well as it should be, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem. Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.
Many automotive climate control systems today are equipped with a cabin filter that prevents outside debris from entering. If present, this filter should be inspected and replaced as needed to ensure maximum airflow and cooling during the high temperature months.
While many of the high temperature vehicle maintenance tasks we discussed are relatively simple and can be performed by the average driver, some are best left to a trained automotive technician. All Star Automotive has a state-of-art service center that can handle any and all of your vehicle maintenance needs! Click here to schedule your next vehicle service appointment online.
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