Although Summer often means fun and adventure under the sun, it unfortunately also can lead to disaster for drivers that haven’t properly prepared their vehicles for the constant heat and sun. Luckily for you, following some simple Summer tips can not only keep your car feeling cooler under the scorching sun, but you’ll also keep your car running smoother and you’ll keep you and your passengers safe. First, however, let’s quickly look back at your vehicle’s various cooling systems, and what you can do to make sure yours are keeping your car in check.
As we’ve covered in earlier articles, there are a few simple things you can do to cool your car as fast as possible after it’s been sitting in the sun for a few hours. First things first, however, is preventing the car from getting that hot in the first place. Many drivers think that simply cracking the windows will allow all the hot air to escape their car, but that isn’t true. Although that may slightly slow the rate that the car heats up, a lot of hot air is still being trapped in the car and is slowly raising the temperature. There are a few things you can do to combat this, the first simply being that you make an effort to park in the shade whenever possible. Whether that’s under an awning, in the shade of a tree, or in a parking structure, staying out of the direct sun while still cracking those windows can help keep your car at least a couple degrees colder than it would be sitting in the direct sun all day.
You can further keep things cool and protect your car’s interior from sun damage and bad odors by using a sun shield when your card is parked. You’ve seen them before – they often look like opaque or reflective metallic sheets in the windshields of parks cars. These help to keep heat and sunlight from getting in the car and keep the interior shady and cool while the vehicle is parked. In case you were unaware, direct exposure to sunlight over time can damage various parts of your car’s interior, causing warping, fading, discoloration, and can also help lingering smells build up and produce an unwanted stench inside your car. Sun shades are typically fairly cheap and you can pick them up almost anywhere that sells car parts and accessories, but they definitely go a long way in keeping things cool during Summer heat waves.
On a related note, keeping your vehicle cool while it’s parked is not only important in maintaining its performance ability and appearance, but it can also save lives. Every year, distracted or fatigued drivers running around town and working make the unfortunate mistake of leaving a child, pet, or infant in their car for a short period of time, and every year this unfortunately leads to a staggering number of preventable deaths and injuries related to vehicles. The truth is, a car’s interior can raise up to or over 20 degrees in less than 10 minutes when parked in the sun on a hot day, and for an infant or pet that could easily spell death. Further, the extreme heat from a car that’s been parked in the sun can increase the effects of fatigue, cause dizziness, loss of coordination, and a handful of other problems that we don’t want someone to experience while operating a vehicle. In all, keeping your car cool in the sun not only makes your ride comfortable, but it can truly save lives in the process.
Moving away from comfort and maintaining a safe cabin temperature, the Summer sun and heat also can take their toll on different mechanical parts and systems on your vehicle, potentially causing irreversible damage and costing drivers money. The prolonged exposure to heat causes fluids to evaporate more quickly than normal, can warp various metals and other materials, and can cause rubber and plastic pieces to crack, dry out, or rot. To make sure you catch any potential problems early on before they become too costly, and more importantly to make sure you’re as safe as possible while driving around, there are a few simple checks you can perform on your own to make sure everything is holding up and working well over the Summer.
Preventing your car from overheating and leaving you stranded isn’t as hard as you might think during the warm months. Your car’s cooling system, which we have covered in earlier articles, is a pressurized closed system them moves coolant through your engine and radiator to dissipate heat. Since it’s a closed system, you should never actually see coolant on or around your car. With that being said, regularly checking under your car and under the hood for any signs of coolant leaks or excessive wear on any hoses or parts is the easiest thing you can do to catch issues before they cause real damage. You may be able to get away with topping off the coolant if you have a very slow and small leak, but since vehicle cooling systems operate under extreme pressure and must remain airtight, you should see a professional as soon as possible if you do notice any leaks, smoke, steam, or if your car is running at high temperatures.
As stated above, prolonged exposure to the sun and Summer heat can cause fluids to evaporate, and there are a lot of different fluids your car needs to run at peak performance. Make sure you regularly check the levels and condition of your wiper fluid, oil, transmission fluid, and battery electrolytes during the Summer months. Keeping these fluids topped off will keep you safe and help prevent excessive wear and tear in the heat.
Aside from checking the electrolyte levels, there are a few other battery checks you should perform to prevent a failure and a headache. Make sure your battery’s terminals are clean and the connections are secure; Temperature fluctuations can cause parts to expand and contract, potentially loosening connections. On a similar note, ensure the battery hold-down bar is tightened properly and the battery is being held securely in place.
Once you’re sure your battery is ready to tackle Summer, the last checks you should perform are on your car’s rubber. Make sure all the belts and hoses are free from cracks, glazing, tears, etc. before you close the hood. Then, check your tires for any issues. Consider a replacement if there are any bulges, swelling, leaks, punctures, and so on. Finally, check to make sure all your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure, and don’t forget to check the spare!
Keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy a sunny and fun Summer with a cool, comfortable car that runs like-new all year! Our list tip is to keep an emergency kit in your car in case you do break down – make sure you have plenty of water, some tools and flashlights, food, and some first aid items to hold you over in case anything happens and you need to wait for help.
If you’re looking for ways to prepare your car for the Summer heat, or if you need affordable options on the parts you need to get your Summer ride back on the road, make sure you shop at Holbrook Auto Parts for the lowest prices around Detroit! Holbrook carries new and pre-owned OEM and aftermarket parts for nearly all makes, models, and years; That’s the Holbrook Difference!
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