Just as cold weather can wreak havoc on your vehicle, the extreme heat of summer can be detrimental to your car. Batteries, passengers, tires and cooling systems all feel the brunt of the warm temperatures. Stay on top of your vehicle’s preventative maintenance to avoid these common warm-weather issues:
Extreme heat can cause battery fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal structure of the battery and affecting the charging system. CarCare.Org recommends having your battery and alternator checked to make sure they are working properly and charging your battery at the correct rate.
The experts at Sears Auto Center also recommend cleaning off the top of your battery, as dirt and the change in temperature can cause corrosion which can affect your battery’s performance and lifespan.
You want to keep your passengers happy in hot weather. And while there’s a common myth out there that using your car’s air conditioning burns gas, your fuel economy actually increases in hot weather. This happens for a few reasons: warmer temperatures cause less aerodynamic drag than cold air, summer grades of gasoline tend to have more energy, and engines warm up faster. However, it’s important to keep passengers breezy when it’s heating up outside – and of course, never leave your kid or pet in a hot car!
Keep your passengers cool by using the air conditioning unit (AC) or rolling down the windows for some fresh air – both of these options will leave your fellow road-trippers comfy in warmer weather.
Your cooling system protects your engine from overheating and has to work extra hard to keep your engine cool in extreme heat. High temperatures can cause the water to evaporate, affecting the 50:50 water to coolant ratio in your vehicle’s radiator. Check your coolant levels every six months, and have your coolant changed once a year.
It’s also important to watch for puddles of green or orange fluid underneath your car. These are signs of coolant system leaks. Be sure to have your belts and hoses inspected for any cracks or tears that could lead to a leak. If you’re examining them yourself, check for deterioration at the ends of the hoses where they connect to the radiator or engine.
High Tire Pressure
Warm weather causes the pressure in your tires to rise. Rather than rely on the maximum tire pressure listed on your tire, check your car’s manual or the inside of the driver’s door for the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure. When checking your tires’ pressure, make sure to wait until they are cool, roughly three hours after driving your vehicle.
Carryover Damage from Winter
With all the pothole problems caused by cold weather, it's a good idea to check your tires for damages. This includes unusual wear and bulges or breaks in the sidewalls. Have your tires rotated to ensure even wear, and examine your tread depth to make sure your tires are up to the task. Use the penny test to determine if your tread depth measures up.
Sun + Dirt Damage
Your vehicle’s exterior also needs a little extra love in the summer. Sunlight, UV radiation, salt, dirt and air pollution can all be detrimental to your car. CarCare.Org recommends washing your vehicle weekly and waxing it every six months to help protect the paint and finish. Sunlight can also fade your interior and exterior, so park your car in a garage or in the shade as often as possible.
To help make sure vehicle is ready for summer road trips, camping and carpools, schedule an appointment at your local Sears Auto Center. We can perform a free multi-point inspection Performance Snapshot to help diagnose any issues you might need to address before hitting the road.