As our fellow Arizona residents are well aware, temperatures can venture into the “extreme” range more often than not, during the summer months. This type of extreme temperature can wreak havoc on our vehicles. Not only can it lead to various mechanical failures, it can also lead to an overheated engine and blown tires.
Extreme Heat and Your Engine
When the outside temperatures soar out of control, the internal components of a vehicle’s cooling system are put to the test. Sitting in traffic on a hot day is one of the quickest ways to overheat your car. This is because there’s no air flowing across the engine to help keep it cool. According to AAA, cooling system failures are one of the leading causes of vehicle break-downs on the highway.
Low coolant level, leaking hoses and broken electric cooling fans can all result in overheating and expensive damage. Without proper maintenance, these components are prone to failure, which can lead to serious engine damage. Having a cooling system service performed every year or two can help prevent any damage brought about by the excessive heat in our area.
How the Heat Affects Tires
Tires are another component of your vehicle that is put under extreme stress when the temperature rises. According to automotive experts, tire pressure will increase as the outside air temperatures rises. In fact, tire pressure can increase approximately one pound for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If your tires are already under high pressure, this increase in pressure can be enough to blow the tire! Not something you want to have to face as you are driving down the road.
Even if your tire doesn’t blow, overinflated tires will wear prematurely, and can cause your vehicle to not handle or brake as efficiently as it should. Both of which are extremely dangerous. While most vehicles these days are equipped with tire pressure monitors, their warning lights won’t illuminate for overinflated tires, just underinflated tires. It is extremely important to check your tire pressure regularly, especially when the temperature begins to change.
Has Your Battery Been Tested?
If you have ever talked to a northerner, they will tell you that the extreme cold temperatures in the north can cause a vehicle’s battery to die. However, it can be argued that extreme summer heat is even harder on car batteries than the cold. So how do you keep your battery running strong during the summer months?
The easiest way to keep your battery running smoothly all summer long, is to make sure it is clean. If you start the summer with dirty or corroded terminals, you can bet that it is only going to get worse as the heat begins to take a toll on the battery. An auto repair shop has the tools to test your battery, to ensure that it is ready to handle the summer heat. If it is showing early signs of failure, you might want to consider going ahead and replacing it, as the summer heat will cause it to drain even faster.
What Else Does the Heat Affect?
While it’s true that we don’t get a ton of rain here in the southwest, that doesn’t mean that we don’t get any. Monsoon season anyone? Many wiper blades are extremely sensitive to heat. It’s not uncommon for Arizonians to discover that their wiper blades have actually melted onto their windshield. So, doing a periodic check of your wiper blades is a good habit to get into. Also, replacing heat sensitive wiper blades with more heat tolerant ones is another good idea to consider.
The interior of your vehicle might not affect driving safety or driving ability, but it is still something you need to consider. The blazing sun coming in through the windows on a hot day, can quickly and easily raise the interior temperature of your vehicle to 150 degrees or more. This is more than hot enough to begin melting adhesives in your vehicle, among other things. Installing tinted windows and/or using a sunshield can help to reduce damage to your interior from the heat.
We might not be able to do anything about the heat we have here in the summer months, but we can sure do what we can to protect our vehicles from the damaging effects of the heat. Proper maintenance can go a long way toward keeping our vehicles safe and running smoothly all summer long. Before the temperatures start soaring out of control, why not make an appointment at your local auto repair shop to ensure your vehicle is ready and able to face what summer has to offer once again.