When you think of ‘summer’, what do you picture? Trips to the beach, family cookouts, or relaxing by the pool?
What about sweating on the side of the road in 100-degree heat with a steaming engine or a flat-tire? Probably not. Mid-summer car care is important!
We’d bet that being a stranded motorist isn’t your idea of summer fun, but the truth is, drivers are at an increased risk of a break down during extreme temperatures. Rising temperatures, dry air and dust, and extremely hot roads, can all wreak havoc on your car’s overall condition making summer maintenance super important. Taking extra care is especially important for Arizona drivers since our “extreme” climate can lead to huge auto repair bill.
We’ve written this blog to give you some pointers on how to avoid costly summer repairs through defensive maintenance. Below are four tips for mid-summer car care.
Watch Your Wipers
Windshield wipers are essential pieces of your vehicle that usually go unnoticed– until you need them. This is especially true during the summer when even fewer showers mean your blades are rarely used. No big deal, right? Wrong. Mid-summer temperatures can cause your wipers to stick or even melt to your glass (yikes), causing them not to function properly and require replacement. Sometimes, windshields are damaged as well.
Luckily, there is a quick fix to this problem: Give your wipers a test run (with fluid) ever so often and place them in the “up” position when you park your car. Keeping the rubber away from the glass not only increases the life of the blade, it also protects your windshield from the possibility of being covered with melted rubber.
Beware of the Battery
Surprisingly, summer heat can do a number on your car’s battery. It really has to do with the fluid inside of the battery since heat causes it to evaporate, leading to internal damage to the battery grids. Temperatures over 95 degrees can also cause corrosion to accelerate while at the same time causing the battery to overcharge. These issues combined can lower your battery’s life span quickly. Proper car care is critical this time of year here in Arizona.
As with all the issues we are outlining in this blog, the key here is prevention. Try to park in the shade (when you can) and keep your battery terminals clean and free of corrosion. The use of terminal protectors and an anti-corrosion spray can be a good preventative. If you suspect that your battery is low on fluid, you can refill it yourself using distilled water or see a specialist who knows the ins and outs of battery care.
The Engine that.. Couldn’t
Besides the battery, it might be even more surprising that high temperatures could hurt your vehicle’s engine. After all, those things are hot year-round. But it isn’t actually your car’s engine itself that is vulnerable to mid-summer heat. It’s the motor oil inside of the engine. As Arizona temperatures rise, the motor oil inside of your car is breaking down and creating small deposits inside of the intake valves. This sludge can do lots of damage. It can stop air from flowing, cause your vehicle to ride a lot ‘rougher’, and reduce fuel economy. Regular oil changes are extremely important in proper car care here.
Again, addressing the problem early on can save you a lot of headaches –and money–in the long run. Check your fluid levels frequently and change your oil on time or even a bit earlier than recommended- at least every 5,000 miles.
Treading on Thin Tires
More than any other part of your ride, your tires are affected the most by extreme temperatures. Summer temps can make Arizona roads extremely hot (think 120s to 130s) leading to frequent blow-outs and wear-outs. Blow-outs can happen any time of year, but they are more common in the summer since heat causes the air inside of tires to expand.
To avoid this disaster, be sure to check your tires regularly. You should ensure that they have the proper level of air and that they are wearing evenly all around. Always avoid both under and over inflation, potholes, and anything else that could add stress onto your already hot wheels (pun intended.)
There really is no way to avoid heat damage to your vehicle entirely, but following the tips above can decrease the effects and leave you with fewer expenses and more summer fun.
Whether your wipers malfunction obstructing your view in a rain storm or your tires blowing out on a freeway, these things can all contribute to a collision. Use these tips to stay safe during the blazing summer heat!