Feeling the heat this summer? So is your car. Here are our bumper-to-bumper care care tips for when the temps keep escalating.
Heat is particularly hostile to our cars, affecting performance, increasing wear and tear, and even creating unsafe driving conditions. Here in Phoenix, we still have a couple of months left of potentially dangerous heat, making it the perfect mid-season check-up time for your car. Follow our recommended tips to ensure your vehicle is in the best possible shape during the year’s hottest months.
#1: Under the Hood
Fluid levels: You should be checking all of your car’s fluids about once a month to make sure they are both clean and at the proper levels. Motor oil and coolant are two fluids you should be particularly mindful of during the summer. Make sure to change your oil at the intervals listed in your owner’s manual, and keep your coolant topped off—if you’ve ever seen overheated cars on the side of I-17 headed north in the summer, you know why this one is important.
The battery: Our dry, desert heat is particularly draining when it comes to the lives of car batteries. That’s because heat speeds corrosion and reduces battery capacity. Make sure you know the age of your battery and check the battery terminals regularly for corrosion (make a solution of baking soda and water and scrub away the corrosion with an old toothbrush).
Belts and hoses: Check for cracks, blisters, or frayed or hardened belts or hoses, and replace anything that needs it.
#2: The Windshield
Wiper blades: Your wiper blades crack and deteriorate more quickly in the summer, and can even melt. Even though we live in a “dry” heat, monsoon season means you could get hit with a sudden storm anytime while on the road and actually need to turn on those windshield wipers. It’s recommended to change your blades twice a year.
Windshield: If you have cracks or chips in your windshield, try to get them repaired right away. Blasting the air conditioner in your car places extra stress on an already compromised windshield and can lead to further damage. The same goes for parking your car in the direct sunlight.
#3: The Tires
Prevent blowouts on hot pavement (which can reach up to 135 degrees) by routinely checking the condition of your tires, including your spare, and making sure your tires are inflated according to guidelines. Every time there is a 10 degree Fahrenheit variance in temperature outside, your tire pressure will change about 2%. WIth the huge temperature changes throughout the summer, it is even more important to check tire pressure more regularly. Rotate and replace your tires on schedule to prevent them from becoming unevenly worn and further prone to blowouts.
#4: In the Trunk
You’ll want to keep your trunk stocked with everything you may need in case of an emergency: a stash of filled water bottles, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable food, an old towel or blanket in case you have to change a tire on that hot pavement, and even a portable phone charger could all come in handy should you get stranded.
Want to learn more about staying safe on the Arizona roads? Stop and Go Driving School is your one-stop destination for driver safety and other driver’s education needs.