Summer Heat Waves and Your Car

Summer Heat Waves and Your Car
  • Opening Intro -

    No doubt about it, extreme summer heat can take its toll on your body, sapping it of strength and putting you at risk of a heat-related illness.

    Limiting your sun exposure can help you stay healthy as can drinking plenty of water when you are outside.


Summer can wreak havoc on your car too, causing it to breakdown and at the most inopportune times. You can avoid trouble by preparing your car for the highest temperatures that it will be exposed to this summer, keeping the following car care tips in mind.

1. Keep your fluids full — Trouble under the hood can occur in several places, with your car’s engine coolant one leading example of where problems often begin. Your coolant should be clean and topped off, ready to provide the protection your engine needs on those sweltering and sultry days.

2. Check your battery — The older your car battery is, the more likely it will fail when put the test of extreme heat. If you’re planning a trip this summer, have your battery tested. If a technician determines that your battery’s life will soon come to an end, have it replaced. Even good-working batteries can cause problems, therefore ensure that all connections are clean and tight. Corrosion build up can render your battery ineffective, so use a wire brush to remove build up.

3. Inspect belts and hoses — Temperatures under your hood can easily top 140 degrees Fahrenheit, baking sensitive components including belts and hoses. Cracks, soft spots or other signs of wear and tear are signs that these should be replaced. Check clamps too to ensure that hoses are fixed in place.

4. Keep tire pressure even — In extreme heat, under-inflated tires are more prone to blowing out while over-inflated tires will give you a rougher ride and will wear out faster. Know the tire pressure requirements for your car, information that is available in your owner’s manual or on the placard fixed on the inside of your driver’s door. Check the air pressure when the tire is cold and inflate them to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.

There are other steps you can ensure that your summer travel doesn’t turn into a debacle. For one, you should carry a fully charged cell phone with you while you’re on the road. A recharger can help keep your cell phone fully charged as well.

Car Care Considerations

Outfitting your car with an emergency kit is a wise decision too. That kit can include jumper cables, water, nonperishable food items, a flashlight with extra batteries, tools and road flares.

Finally, never take to the road without having had a recent oil change and if a tune up is due, get it done now to avoid getting stranded later. If your car’s roadside assistance warranty has expired, consider joining an auto club to provide emergency help when needed.

Consumer Tips reference:

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".