As this summer of record-breaking temperatures bears down on Florissant, most people are aware that they need to take special precautions to keep themselves and their families safe. But many don’t realize that high temperatures can take a toll on their vehicles, too.
Nathan Flower, a service advisor and mechanic at Gary’s Auto Service, says it’s important to keep up on every aspect of your car’s maintenance during the hot summer season.
“Do all recommended services as far as maintenance,” Flower said. “Keep on that—a lot of people neglect it and it comes back to bite them in the butt.”
Change the oil
Flower said you should have your oil changed as often as the manufacturer suggests, and that no matter how well your car has been running, you need to keep an eye on your temperature gauge.
Many people don’t realize that skipping a single oil change can cause a lot of harm to a vehicle.
“There are a lot of metal parts moving around in your engine,” according to Gary’s Auto Service’s website. “Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate areas of the engine where they cause damage.”
Keep it cool
“When we’re up over 100 degrees, and you’re backed up in traffic, your car is sitting there sucking in exhaust that’s over 200 degrees,” Flower said. “That can cause it to overheat.”
He said that if you notice the temperature gauge getting into the danger zone, try kicking your AC on low to turn on the cooling fan.
“If that doesn’t work, get to the side of the road,” he said. “There are a lot of blown head gaskets this time of year because cars get so warm, and no one pays attention to the coolant level—and some people just refill it with water.”
Flower said that it’s important to keep your antifreeze fresh, even in the summer time, because it has a higher boiling point (and higher freezing point) than water and even old antifreeze.
Maintain tire pressure
Flower said that tire pressure is another concern for summer vehicle care, and that keeping your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s guidelines can actually save you money in gas.
“You can find the recommended amount on your driver’s side door panel,” he added.
Make the battery last
The life of a battery depends on many factors, according to Gary’s website, but on average, only about 30 percent last for 48 months.
Believe it or not, temperature is one of the primary issues that affect battery life.
“Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates,” Gary’s website said. “The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.”
Batteries begin to discharge within 24 hours when it’s hot outside, but it takes several days in colder weather. If they’re left too long in a state of “partial discharge,” the discharged portions of the battery plates will cease to function.
Driving short distances, especially making several stops, could mean your battery won’t fully recharge.
For more auto-care tips and advice, visit Gary’s Auto Service’s blog.