Keeping Your Cool: Protecting Your Car From the Summer Heat

Keeping Your Cool: Protecting Your Car From the Summer Heat

David Straughan
4 minute read

So you’ve made it through the winter with your vehicle unscathed. That means it’s time to relax until November, right? Wrong. Summer, unfortunately, comes with its own hazards for automobiles. The heat and, depending on where you live, humidity can wreak havoc on your battery, fluids and other components. Follow these tips to ensure your car stays in summer shape through to fall.

1. Replace old coolant

It says it right there in the name. The main challenge you’ll face in summer temperatures is keeping your engine from overheating. That is the sole function of coolant. Coolant is inexpensive, found everywhere and easy to replace at home. It is vital to your engine’s health. Here’s a nice, easy instructional video to help you change out your coolant.

2. Check those tires!

Yes, checking your tires pops up again and again in the Strutmasters blog, but we still can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take care of them. When your car is operating normally, the tires are the only part of the car that actually touches the road. This should clue you in to how important they are. Dramatic temperature changes, like the ones that happen between summer days and summer nights, can significantly alter your tire pressure. Driving on tires that are improperly inflated will cause them to wear unevenly and not perform as they are supposed to. Not only is this bad for your vehicle in the long term, it can also reduce your ability safely stop or maneuver your care immediately.

3. Pay attention to your battery

Your battery is one of the most likely components to feel the effects of the summer sun. High temperatures can speed up the corrosion of your battery, cause water to evaporate out of its fluid and can actually drain the battery of its charge. To combat this, carefully look over your battery every so often. Inspect for any spots where it might have a crack, a leak or be bulged out or misshapen. If you notice any of these issues, replace the battery ASAP. Use a toothbrush or kitchen scouring pad to clean the battery terminals and the areas immediately around them. The oxidation should come off fairly easily, but be sure to brush away from your body and double-check to make sure the car is completely off before you do it.

4. Give your belts, hoses and wires a regular once-over

Any time you pop the hood on your car is a good time to look over your belts, hoses and wires to see if anything is frayed or broken. Excessive heat can lead to a more rapid breakdown of these components. This quick visual check shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two and can save you a lot of grief in the future. Next time you get your oil changed, ask your mechanic to spend some time looking everything over in more detail. This is a great chance to spot a small problem before it becomes a big one.

5. Keep an eye on your oil

Too much heat, which is exactly what you get in summer, can cause your car to go through oil more quickly than normal. Low oil in the summer can be devastating on an engine. Keep an eye on your oil pressure as well as the temperature to make sure it doesn’t get too low or too hot. Take a minute whenever you fill up to check the dipstick to check the level and quality of the oil. If it starts to appear too dark, ignore the regular interval and go get your oil changed right away.

6. Keep your engine free of junk

Needless to say, a lot of stuff falls out of the trees during spring and early summer. No matter how well they designed your car, some of that junk will find its way into your engine block. Any foreign object, especially flammable ones, are a risk to your car’s performance and longevity. Take a minute whenever you fill up to pick out any leaves or other debris that might have found its way under your hood. Summer is a great time to drive a car. With extra hours of daylight and a country filled with wonderful vacation destinations, it’s worth waiting all year for. Keeping your car healthy throughout the year will mean you’ve got one less thing standing between you and your perfect road trip or vacation. For more car care tips, check the Strutmasters blog.

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