How Does the Summer Heat Affect My Vehicle?
Summer should be all about road trips, extended vacations, and of course, fun. But, the season’s heat can take its toll on a vehicle’s operating condition. So, now’s the time to get your car ready before heading out wherever your summer adventures are taking you. And learning more about how the summer heat can affect your vehicle and the steps you should take to help prepare it for the season can help lead to a trouble-free journey.
How to Prepare Your Car for Summer
Dealing with the weather and car ownership begins with maintenance, and some of the basic steps to help your car get ready for summer travels will include:
Checking the Air Conditioning System
High summer temperatures can add extra stress to your vehicle’s air conditioning. And the last thing anyone wants is the system to conk out in the middle of a long drive. Get ahead of any problems by having the A/C system inspected by a mechanic who will assess the belts and hoses, check for leaks, and add refrigerant.
Changing Your Oil & Filter
Of course, oil and filter changes should happen as recommended, regardless of the time of year. But, a summer oil change can help the engine better deal with extreme temperatures and hours upon hours of driving. And even if the car isn’t quite ready for an oil change, it never hurts to do it sooner than later, especially if you’ve been driving more often than usual.
And, if you have an Advantage auto protection plan from Endurance, you can save up to $3,500 towards your vehicle’s yearly maintenance needs, including oil and filter changes, while getting the breakdown protection you need to have a worry-free trip.
Inspecting the Tires
Tires in good condition are essential for safe driving (and stopping) and can even help maximize fuel economy. It starts by ensuring you have the correct tire pressure, aka the PSI, according to the manufacturer’s specifications that you can find in your owner’s manual or often on the tires themselves. Then, use a pressure gauge to check their PSI. If you notice your tires are over-inflated, look to let some air out. Or, if your tires are fairly under-inflated, look to visit an auto shop or even a gas station for a quick fill-up at a free air pump. Be sure there is no damage to the sidewalls, and check the tire tread as well.
Checking the Car Battery
A car battery and hot weather are not a good combination, especially if the battery is more than three years old (most car batteries last three to five years). An auto repair shop or supply store can quickly check the battery’s condition, often for free. Or, if you have the Advantage plan, you can enjoy the peace of mind of having a free battery replacement to go along with a handful of other special, one-time services.
Inspecting the Windshield Wipers
A windshield wiper blade is nothing more than a piece of rubber that deteriorates over time, but it’s a crucial component for safe summer driving. Take a close look for any cracks or warping and test the wipers for streak-free performance. Using your Advantage plan’s one-time wiper blade set replacement, you can change out your car’s deteriorated wipers to ensure smoother operations during summer downpours and clear away any insect debris that accumulates.
How Does the Summer Heat Affect My Vehicle?
It’s easy not to think about car problems when a vehicle is running smoothly. But car ownership involves understanding how outside factors, like how the extreme heat and even humidity of the summer months affect a car and can lead to breakdowns.
Causes Oil Breakdown
The summer heat can lead to a breakdown of the lubricating qualities of engine oil. This requires an engine to work harder and makes it wear down sooner. At the same time, deposits can build on the intake valves, which reduces power and fuel economy. You may even see some overheating as well.
In addition, heat impedes oil’s chemical additives used to prevent sludge build-up inside an engine. Sludge not only interferes with normal engine lubrication but affects how complex modern engines operate (especially those with variable valve timing).
Causes Tire Degradation
A car stops because of friction between the rubber of your tires and the pavement (with some help from the brakes). Yet, this friction also causes tires to wear down, and a scorching hot road surface will only amplify the effect because the tread is softer due to the increased temperature.
And summer extremes do other things to the tires, like increasing their air pressure. An overfilled tire is susceptible to a blowout and may impede optimal braking performance. Over-inflation can also lead to premature tire wear, while excess heat can cause tire rubber to dry out and crack. But, when you activate your Endurance Elite Benefits, you can get tire replacements and repairs for free to help you get back on the road fast.
Overworks Cooling System
Your car’s cooling system is designed to keep the engine at a safe operating temperature. It’s a taxing enough task under normal conditions, but the summer is cause for double duty. It’s no trouble if the system is in optimal condition, but something as simple as low or poor-condition coolant can lead your engine to overheat or, worse, fail completely.
Regular cooling system maintenance is one way to prevent road trip troubles. The Advantage auto protection plan includes one-time cooling system servicing.
Causes Fuel System Issues
The engine is designed to operate with a specific air-fuel mixture; a change in this ratio can affect performance. The summer weather brings along a high-humidity atmosphere that is less dense than during wintertime. This can throw off the balance, causing a rich mixture with too much fuel (engine knocking is a frequent symptom) or a lean ratio with too little fuel (which leads to weak acceleration and stalling).
Causes Exterior & Interior Fading
The sun’s potent rays are intensified during summer; the powerful combination of heat and ultraviolet radiation can destroy a car’s paint and cabin. Faded paint can make the body vulnerable to rust and corrosion and cause a car’s value to drop. The intense sun can erode the upholstery inside the vehicle and crack plastic components. Short of parking in a covered location, there’s no way to avoid heat in cars during the summer.
Causes Failing Wiper Blades
The fierce summer sun and heat eat away at many rubberized components in a car, including wiper blades. It may seem to be a simple part, but wiper blades are essential for safe summer driving. You’ll want good visibility during a rainstorm and a windshield free of streaks and bugs.
Keep Your Vehicle Running This Summer with Endurance
Preparing your vehicle before heading out on a summer road trip can eliminate or limit car problems in hot weather. But, whether you’ve done all the necessary tasks or not, even the most well-maintained vehicles can experience a breakdown every now and then. And if you don’t have an active factory warranty, you’d be on the hook for the repair bills on your own, but when you have an Endurance auto protection plan. Like your car’s factory coverage, each Endurance plan is designed to protect you and your wallet from expensive repair bills. Some plans, like the Advantage plan, can even help you save on some of your vehicle’s most important maintenance needs. Or choose from other options such as the Highline plan, which includes coverage for select luxury models from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche and other premium brands or get basic coverage starting at just $79/month with the Secure plan.
Plus, every Endurance plan is packed with features, including a 30-day money-back guarantee, flexible payment options, and the ability to choose from any ASE Certified mechanic. And every plan comes with 24/7 roadside assistance, trip-interruption protection, and rental car reimbursements. And when you activate your one year of Elite Benefits, you can get extra perks and savings like tire replacements or repairs, key fob replacements, collision discounts and even total loss coverage.
Get peace of mind when it comes to unexpected repair bills with an Endurance auto protection plan by requesting a free quote. You can also call (800) 253-8203 to speak with a member of the award-winning Endurance customer care team to learn more about Advantage, Highline or how any other Endurance plan can help you. And don’t forget to check out the Endurance blog for even more expert auto tips, DIY car maintenance how-tos, road trip planning guides and more.