Help Your Car Survive the Heat

Follow These Tips to Protect Your Car From the Summer Sun

With summer officially here, skyrocketing temperatures have people looking for ways to beat the heat. Most people know how to protect themselves, their children and their pets from the harmful effects of the sun, but did you know that the climbing mercury can also affect your car? Extreme heat can push your vehicle past its limits, causing some drivers to find themselves stranded at the side of the road.

Don’t let your car become a victim of the heat. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be cruising comfortably all summer long.

Check Your Battery

That may sound like something we’d recommend in the winter, but extreme heat can be just as bad, if not worse, for your battery. Heat and vibration are two of the biggest problems for your battery, leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While you may not be able to do much about the heat, you can make sure your battery is securely mounted to minimize vibration.

If your car’s battery is more than three years old, it’s time to get it tested and make sure it’s still in good working condition. CAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers testing, delivery and installation by our trained technicians.

Keep Your Engine Cool

Your vehicle’s engine has to work extra hard in the summer, so make sure your cooling system is in good working order to prevent overheating. Additives in the coolant also help protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper maintenance, the odds of a summer time boil over go up. Older coolants used to require changing every two years, but most modern formulations are good for at least five years. See your owner’s manual to determine the service interval appropriate for your vehicle.

Properly Inflate Your Tires

Driving on under-inflated tires can cause them to overheat and increase the chance of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high. Tire pressure should be checked when the car hasn’t been recently driving. Make sure the pressure is inflated to the amount recommended by the vehicle manufacture – which can usually be found in your owner’s manual or on the inside of the driver’s door. And don’t forget to check the pressure of your spare tire too!

Keep Those Fluids Up

Engine fluids are essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly this summer. They not only lubricate, but also serve as coolants by carrying heat away from critical components. When fluid levels are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids including oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the required levels.

Cold Comfort

Keeping the driving environment comfortable on those hot summer days can help reduce fatigue, which keeps you more alert behind the wheel. During extreme heat, make sure your car’s air conditioning system (if equipped) is operating effectively. If your car seems to be struggling to keep you cool this summer, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or could signal another problem. Have the system checked by a certified technician to make sure you and your passengers stay cool.

Even with proper car and maintenance, summer breakdowns can happen. Make sure you’re prepared with a well-stocked emergency kit, including water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, road flares and a first aid kit.