As tempting as summer time is, with all the long road trips and the vacations we take, this weather can be hard on your car. The extreme heat can be incredibly damaging to your vehicle, impacting its critical components such as the engine, tires, battery, fluids, and breaks, turning your summer drive into an unexpected stop.
Most vehicle owners would perform the pre-season preparations for the winter, as they believe that the extreme cold winter weather is the major reason for car breakdowns, but what most miss is the fact that major breakdowns could also happen during the harsh summer days.
But don’t worry, there are many things you can do to keep your summer driving on track. We have reviewed the most common reasons for summer car breakdowns, how to avoid them, and what to do when facing such scenarios.
1. Engine Overheated:
As the weather rises and gets hotter during summer days, your engine may encounter the danger of overheating. The main reason behind this is that the coolant system will work much harder in order to keep the engine cool.
While you are on a move in the hot weather, keep an eye on the engine temperature symbol and be alert when the indicator is illuminated.
How to Avoid It?
You always have to inspect the entire cooling system and pay close attention to its components, including the radiator, hoses, and water pump. Remember to examine the coolant level and top it up when required.
What to Do If Your Car Engine Is Overheated?
If your engine is overheated, take these steps until you are safe or at the mechanic shop:
- Turn off your A/C immediately to reduce the stress from your engine.
- Turn on the heater to its maximum to move the heat away from the engine.
- Pullover to a safe place.
- Wait a few minutes before opening the radiator.
- Once cooled, check your coolant level and - if you have it available in your car - top it up.
- When possible, carefully restart your engine, and drive to your nearest mechanic shop to get it checked.
2. Irregular Tire Pressure:
Since long summer vacations result in long driving hours, you will need to pay special attention to your tires. As temperature keeps on increasing, your tire pressure will increase and might exceed the manufacturer's recommended pressure levels, leading to a tire blowout. In addition to that, overinflated tires are more prone to early degradation, resulting in vehicle handling issues.
On the other hand, blowouts can also happen when tires are underinflated. Such tires will create heat much faster caused by the high friction between the tires and the hot asphalt.
How to Avoid It?
On a regular basis and before a long journey, always remember to check the pressure of all 4 tires to ensure they are in the recommended pressure at all times.
What to Do If Your Car Tire Is Overinflated?
If you found out that you have overinflated tires, follow these simple steps to get them in the right pressure level:
- Locate the tire that is overinflated and find your valve stem. It appears to be a small black cap hanging down from the wheel.
- Twist the cap to the left to reveal the metal pin inside.
- Use a tire air pressure gauge to check your pressure and make a note of it. This should give you an idea of where you'll need to make changes.
- Push the metal pin in the center of the valve stem down with the back end of the air gauge to release some of the air in the tire. You should do this in short bursts and monitor the remaining pressure on a regular basis.
- Once you've got it within factory specs, secure the cap back on the valve stem and you're ready to go.
3. Battery Related Issues:
Most car owners might think that issues related to car batteries might happen only during the cold winter season. But just like with the cooling system, long heat exposure might dry out the battery fluids more quickly placing stress on the battery.
How to Avoid It?
Check and inspect your battery more frequently during the hot summer days, and especially before hitting a long road trip. And if you had your car battery for more than 2 years, then you should check it far more often.
What to Do If Your Car Battery Is Dead?
The most common way to handle a dead battery situation is by jump-starting it. Have a set of jumper cables and another car with a good battery ready to start:
- Get your jumper cables ready.
- Put both vehicles in Park or Neutral and turn off the ignitions.
- Connect one of the red clips to your battery's positive terminal. It has the letters "POS" or "+" on it.
- Connect the other red clip end of the other car positive terminal.
- Connect one of the black clips to the other battery's negative terminal.
- Connect the final black clip to an unpainted metal surface of your vehicle that is not near the battery.
- Make an attempt to start your car.
If the car did not start, double-check the cables and let the car rest for five minutes. Then attempt to restart your vehicle. If it is still not working, you may need a new battery.
4. Low Oil Pressure:
As temperatures rise, oil viscosity becomes thinner and runnier, which makes it harder to stick to the components and lubricates the moving parts inside your engine. When this happens, the engine is at risk of wearing out, which can lead to a complete breakdown and an expensive replacement.
How to Avoid It?
Check your engine oil level regularly, and top it up when needed. Remember, excessive oil levels might lead to an overflow that causes serious engine damages.
What to Do If Your Low Oil Pressure Symbol Is Lit?
If your low oil pressure warning light is on on your dashboard:
- Bring your car to a complete stop, turn off the engine.
- Let your engine cool down completely.
- Check for any oil leaks under your car.
- Then check the oil level of your engine using the dipstick, and ensure that it's at the recommended level.
If the oil pressure light is still on, drive to your nearest mechanic shop, and have it checked by a professional.