Summer heat and humidity can wreak havoc on your vehicle and how it functions, even when you are not on a road trip. Warm weather, hot roads, and humidity combine to create a hostile environment for all vehicles. Here are a few things to consider when driving your car during the hot summer months.
Oil, Coolant and Other Fluids
Because your engine runs hotter in the summer, it’s especially important to keep it well lubricated. Keeping on top of oil changes is especially important during hot weather, so make sure that you change it at regular intervals. Frequent road trips during summer will lessen the time between oil changes.
Antifreeze is also important. While it keeps your vehicle from freezing in winter, it also performs a vital function in the summer by keeping it cool. Make sure your car has enough of it as older vehicles tend to leak more antifreeze during hot months. Keep a close eye on your vehicle’s temperature gauge to keep it from overheating.
Transmission and power steering fluid should receive checks at proper intervals to ensure that those systems are working properly. Make sure that all hoses are in good condition to properly deliver fluid. Gas also evaporates faster in a hot environment. Park your car in the shade whenever possible to give all of these systems a break.
Hot tires coming into contact with hot pavement can be a recipe for disaster. If you make sure that your tires are properly inflated, you’re less likely to experience a blowout. Avoid this hazardous situation by having pressure checked monthly and adjusting inflation as necessary. Tires with insufficient tread are also prone to blowouts in hot weather.
It is well known that cold weather makes it more difficult for the battery to crank and start your vehicle. However, extra vibration from long summer trips can shorten its life. Make sure the technician tops off battery fluids when you bring your car in for regular service. Always carry a pair of jumper cables in case you get stranded.
Paint and Upholstery
Although paint processes have improved over the last several decades, some manufacturers now place thinner coats to cut costs, resulting inc more potential damage. Constant exposure to direct sunlight can damage your car’s surface and cause paint, rubber and plastic trim to fade, peel and crack.