Car Care Tips
The Dangers of Driving in Extreme Heat
Car Maintenance is Key
Everyone knows that extreme cold can be hard on your vehicle, but much fewer people consider the additional wear and tear experienced when driving in extreme heat. High temperatures aren’t just a bother because it makes your legs stick to leather seats. In fact, extreme heat can cause significant problems for both you and your vehicle. But with a little preparation, you can manage even the hottest of days and it all starts with proper maintenance.
Belts and Hoses
Ever hear a vehicle roll past screeching like a banshee? Chances are worn out belts are responsible. And you’ve likely seen a cloud of steam billow out of the engine compartment of another vehicle at some point. Neither are any fun to experience and can easily derail your travels for at least hours if not days. Most people don’t know how to properly inspect the accessory belts or hoses on their vehicle’s engine, so make sure to have a full inspection done at your dealership before heading out on the road.
Replace Your Battery
Batteries don’t like heat. Period. And older batteries can have serious trouble in extremely hot conditions. It’s a simple thing to have your battery checked during your next oil change, so make sure you get that done. Replacing your battery is much cheaper than calling for a service call on the side of the road and If your battery fails on a blistering hot day, your vehicle won’t run so you won’t have A/C, navigation, or any way to charge your phone.
This one should be the most obvious. Ask anyone without an air-conditioned vehicle how unpleasant and stressful driving is and you’ll likely get an earful. Before the really hot days arrive, it’s a very good idea to have you’re A/C system checked. Many system failures are completely avoidable with regular service. Of all the systems and parts discussed in this article, the A/C system is by far the most expensive (short of an engine or transmission failure) to repair or replace, so give it attention each year and it should work properly for many years to come.
Important Safety Tip
On the subject of A/C and travelling in heat, never – ever – leave pets or children in an unattended vehicle. Interior temperatures can get to well over 40c / 100f degrees in mere minutes and this unfortunate oversight has been responsible for far too many deaths to take chances. Leaving your vehicle running with children or pets inside is extremely risky for different reasons, so either stay with your family in the vehicle, bring them with you when you leave the vehicle, or leave them safely at home.
Check Your Fluids
You can save yourself a lot of hassle in the hot-weather months by monitoring your car’s fluids. Fluids that you should check include:
- Coolant: This is the big one. If your coolant/antifreeze level is too low, it can cause overheating and ultimately a terminal engine failure.
- Motor oil
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power-steering fluid
- Windshield wiper fluid
Regular maintenance shouldn’t be seen as an expensive bother. Simply keeping to a modest service schedule will actually save you time and money and prevent your travels from becoming a living nightmare for you and your passengers