Car Care Tips for Hot Weather Driving
1. Check the level and strength of the coolant
Don’t let your engine overheat in the summer! Make sure the coolant reservoir is filled at a proper level. NEVER check the coolant level when the radiator is hot! You could be burned by hot steam and boiling coolant! Wait until the engine has cooled to check the levels. However, this isn’t necessary if the coolant level in the reservoir is maintained. If the coolant level is low, then add a 50/50 mixture of the specified coolant and water. NEVER run straight water into the radiator! Water is better for cooling than antifreeze, but antifreeze is required to raise the boiling temperature of the coolant and to protect against corrosion.
2. Make sure the cooling fan works
In the Texas heat, we all know that the electric cooling fan should come on when the air conditioner is turned on to MAX. If your fan isn’t on, then that may mean a defective fan motor, a relay, or an electrical problem. A worn fan clutch may cause the engine to overheat. Fan clutches with high mileage with more than 100,000 miles on them may be weak and not provide adequate cooling. The surest sign of a fan clutch needing to be replaced is if the fan clutch is leaking fluid, or spins with little resistance. If your fan clutch needs to be replaced, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (210) 595-1047 .
3. Check your air conditioner
No one wants to drive in hot weather without A/C! When your A/C isn’t blowing cold air, and has very weak air blowing, then your refrigerant charge may be low. Remember to always check for leaks before adding refrigerant!
4. Check the age of your battery
Most car batteries last only 3 or 5 years. If your battery is more than 5 years old, you need to replace it soon. Hot weather is harder on batteries than cold weather, because it evaporates the liquid electrolyte within the battery at a more rapid rate. (However, this is not a problem with gel type batteries.) You can determine the age of your battery by reading the date code on the battery. The date code number indicates the year, and the date code letter corresponds to each month. For example: A = January, B = February, C = March, etc.
When your battery reaches three or more years old, consider having it tested. We offer free consultation and free battery tests, so you can be informed about the current condition of your car battery.
5. Change the oil
Protect the lubrication of your engine by replacing old dirty oil with a fresh oil can. During hot weather, you should switch your motor oil to a heavier viscosity motor oil, especially on high mileage engines. Synthetic motor oils are also better for high temperature protection.
6. Check or replace the windshield wipers
Did you know that sun exposure, extreme heat, and extreme cold age the rubber on your windshield wipers? Natural rubber wiper blades have a limited life of a year or less. If your windshield wipers are hard and brittle, they leave streaks, chatter, or smear across your windshield, it is time to get them replaced.
7. Check Your Tires
Have your car tires checked for wear, uneven wear, age cracks, or any other type of damage. Don’t forget to check the spare tire when you are checking the inflation pressure for all your tires. Under inflated tires have an increased risk of a blowout.
8. Wax the body
Waxing your vehicle helps shield the paint from ultraviolet rays from the hot summer sun, and smog in urban areas. Even a sprayed type of protectant will help your car last longer.