Archive for Monday, August 8, 2016

Automotive Tips For Keeping Cool this Summer

Drivers can take proactive steps to ensure their automobile stays cool in this summer's overwhelming heat.

Drivers can take proactive steps to ensure their automobile stays cool in this summer's overwhelming heat.

August 8, 2016

The dog days of summer have hit Shawnee Kansas hard this year, as extreme temperatures have been felt in June and July. We all expect August and even September to have more days in the 90’s or even over 100 degrees. Extreme heat can be dangerous for not only you but for your car as well.

No one wants to end up on the side of the road because their car was overwhelmed in the heat. Rather than rolling the dice and assuming your car is in prime running condition, drivers can take proactive steps to ensure their automobile is up for the challenge:

Check the cooling system

The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. Hot temperatures and low coolant levels increase the risk of your engine overheating and your AC working overtime. If you see symptoms of an overheated engine, like the temperature gauge rising, warning lights or steam billowing out from the hood, pull over to a safe place, turn off the engine, and call a tow truck service to get your vehicle to an automotive repair shop that you trust. An overheated engine is definitely a time when you want to have it towed to prevent engine damage. Far too many individuals drive when the engine has overheated and damage the engine. If you are a DIY type person, then wait at least 30 minutes for the hot engine to cool down fully before opening the hood. Do not remove caps from your radiator and/or tank while it is hot and under pressure. You may burn yourself, as coolant will come out when it is hot and under pressure. When the engine is cool, if your coolant levels are low, topping off the tank (it’s the translucent plastic one) could do the trick. But if the tank is empty you might have sprung a leak and will need a professional to take a look and determine if it needs to be replaced.

Heat Hurts from the Ground Up

Extreme road heat radiates upward, causing excessive wear and tear on the underside of vehicles. Make sure your belts and hoses are in good condition. If you don’t want to check this yourself, then have a trusted mechanic inspect them during your next oil change. Your owner’s manual recommendation has recommendations regarding when to inspect and/or change items like belts.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is the most neglected fluid under most cars’ hoods. And, unfortunately, transmissions are most likely to fail in the extreme heat, especially with the additional strain of pulling a boat or a camper. To prevent a failure, car owners need to change transmission fluid on a regular basis, according to their owner’s manual.

Tires are more prone to blowouts in the hot summer months

Overinflated or underinflated tires are at risk for a sudden blowout. So, properly inflating your tires using a device that accurately measures PSI is critical.

Maximizing Your Car’s Air Conditioning

Try to park in a location with a lot of shade. Parking in the sun heats up the inside of your car, which causes your A/C to operate longer at a higher fan speed. That uses more energy to reach an optimal temperature. Use a reflective windshield glass to reduce solar heat transmission to the car’s interior. Use the A/C’s max or recirculate settings instead of constantly cooling outside air. To avoid a moldy smell, turn the air conditioning to outside air and put the blower on high about a block from your destination. This will remove moisture from the system. Clean your cabin air filters regularly. Clogged and dirty filters can block air flow into your vehicle.

- Scott and Tammie Green own Christian Brothers Automotive in Shawnee, 22240 Midland Drive.

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