During our extreme heat we regularly take precautions to protect people and pets but what about our cars? Like people and pets, vehicles need fluids and cool air. Your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) are sharing ways to stay safe.
1. Test your battery
Summer heat can drain your battery. If it’s more than three years old, be sure to have it tested. A certified mechanic can determine how much longer it’s expected to last.
2. Maintain your AC system
Your vehicle should provide relief from triple digit heat so if you notice the air conditioning system is blowing low or warm, contact a certified technician. Newer models have cabin filters that block outside debris from entering the vehicle’s interior and you may want to have it inspected and replaced if needed for maximum cooling and airflow.
Just like for humans, fluids are essential for cars. Not only do fluids lubricate parts but they also carry heat away from important parts. Extreme heat will lead to evaporation and potentially reduce the cooling effect, which can lead to your car over heating.
Make sure engine (motor) oil, coolant/antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are full. If you want to replace fluids on your own, be sure to check the owner’s manual so you use the right type for your vehicle.
4. Check tire pressure and condition
Properly inflated tires are important year round and during the summer it’s critical. Underinflated tires can overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. Overinflated tires can happen due to climbing temperatures. Generally, tires gain one pound per square inch (PSI) for every ten-degree change in temperature. Overinflated tires will wear prematurely and can interfere with braking.
Extreme heat can also cause sidewall cracking which can lead to a dry tire that’s more likely to crack.
If you’re planning a summer road trip, consider leaving early in the morning to make it easier on your vehicle’s engine. Bring along a cooler with drinks and nonperishable food, use window shades for passengers in the back, and pack an emergency kit with the following: