TEXAS — The unrelenting heat wave affecting Texas and much of the country can be dangerous for people —sunburn, heat exhaustion and heatstroke being just a few examples of heat-related illness.
What you may not consider as frequently is that excessive temperatures can take a toll on your vehicle.
According to AAA, heat waves lead to vehicle breakdowns. The good news is proper summer maintenance many times will prevent them.
Here’ what to look out for:
AAA says high temperatures can impede chemical processes inside your car battery, making it hard for them to hold a charge and provide power. Hot weather can even cause your battery fluid to evaporate quickly. It’s recommended you check your battery twice a year. A mechanic can run a battery test to ensure it’s putting out at least 12.6 volts. If your battery is running low, change it before it dies.
If you’ve been in Texas when a cold front moves through, it’s likely that your vehicle warned you about your tire pressure. High temperatures can be a problem as well. Under-inflated tires can overheat, increasing the likelihood of a blowout. Check your tire condition and pressure monthly. If they’re bald or uneven, buy new tires. Check the pressure after your car has been resting. Readings aren’t as reliable immediately after your can has been driven.
Cooling systems have to work extra hard over the summer months to keep your engine from overheating.
Coolant will degrade over time and needs to be replaced. Rubber cooling system components will deteriorate in extreme heat.
Your vehicle will still run without air conditioning, but you won’t want to be in it. If you notice your car isn’t cooling down, it’s best to have a technician look at it. Air conditioners need regular maintenance.
When running your car in extremely hot weather, the oil running around will thin slightly. This can lead to engine damage. It’s best to change your oil right before summer starts.