HOT CAR PROBLEMS OVERHEATING

Avoid Hot Weather Car Breakdowns

How Not To Be One Of Those Stopped On The Side Of The Road In Hot Weather

It’s the middle of summer and things can get pretty hot here - no small exaggeration! What better way to escape than going on a road trip? However, nothing can bring your great summer escapade to a screeching halt more quickly than car trouble!  

 

Winter can be tough on your car but summer can be just as rough. The hot weather poses a whole new set of challenges where your car is concerned. Here are some common reasons for breakdowns, and some tips to avoid being that poor fellow at the side of the road, all prepped for a road trip with nowhere to go.

Hot Weather Potential Car Problems:

 

Bad Battery

 

Most often, batteries do not signal failure ahead of time. Often, they suddenly go on the blink just as you’ve started on your getaway. The hot weather plays havoc on your battery. A failing battery will cause the alternator/generator to work harder to charge it. This could lead to alternator failure.

 

What you can do:

  • Make sure that your car has all the plastic pieces that surround the battery. These pieces are designed to keep the battery cool and draw fresh air across the battery to extend its life.

  • Have your car checked to ensure that the battery terminals are clean and protected from corrosion.

  • As a preventive measure, it is advisable to replace your battery every three years or as recommended by your car’s owner’s manual.

 

Flat Tire or Blowout

 

Flat tires are one of the most common causes of car trouble. If you have not checked your tires since winter, there is a chance that your tires might be over inflated in the summer months because the increase in temperature will cause increased air pressure. Or, quite the opposite, under-inflated, which can be even worse. Flat tires or blowout might also be caused by wear and tear on your tires.

 

What you can do:  

  • Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper inflation levels. Most service stations have a gauge on the air pump, or if you have a simple tire gauge, it will tell you if you need to inflate or let out air in your tires.

  • It is also good practice to regularly do a check on the conditions of your tires for tread depth. Checking tire tread with a penny is one of the oldest and most reliable techniques for measuring tread depth.

  • Insert a penny between your tire's tread blocks with Lincoln's head upside down towards the tire.

  • If Lincoln's head is completely visible, the tread is worn out and your tires should be replaced.

  • However, if part of Lincoln's head is covered, there is more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth, meaning your tires are typically in good shape.

  • Make sure to check several portions of the tread pattern, including central, outer and inner grooves.

  • Uneven tire wear will indicate a misalignment.

  • Also, make sure to check the spare tire to ensure that it’s in good condition and inflated correctly. You never know if you’re going to need it.

Overheating

 

It’s a common scene -- a car pulled off to the side of the road with the hood popped open and steam billowing out of the car. One of the most common reasons for overheating are a faulty cooling system or low fluid level. Hot temperatures put extreme pressure on your vehicle’s cooling system and makes it work overtime to prevent engine overheat.

 

What you can do:  

  • Make sure to check your car’s fluids - coolant, brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, washer fluid and engine oil regularly.

 

  • If you do find yourself in an overheated situation, turn off your air conditioning and turn on your heater. Although this might seem counter intuitive, this helps to remove heat from the engine and uses the additional fans to cool things down until you find a garage that can service your car.  

 

Air Conditioning Failure

 

Just when you need it most and when the weather is at its hottest, your car’s a/c can suddenly fail. So what do you do? Do you tough it out and go through the summer a wilted mess? What are the possible reasons for a/c failure? There might be a leak and this may cause a low level in your car’s refrigerant. It could be caused by something major like a busted compressor or more luckily, a faulty blower fan. Or it could be caused by an overheating engine.

 

What you can do:

  • Prevention is always the best policy. Before going on a major road trip, it is best to have your mechanic check your system to avoid any problems while you’re on your trip

 

Evaporative Leak

 

Rising temperatures can cause an increase in pressure in your car’s gas tank. This pressure must be vented to prevent the gas tank from warping. This fuel vapor is vented from the gas tank into a charcoal canister in your vehicle that serves to absorb the fuel vapor. It stores it until the engine is started and the vapors can be purged. The evaporative system is important in that it manages the evaporative emissions in your car. If there is a leak in the system, the “check engine light” should turn on.

 

What you can do:  

  • Often, the culprit when the “check engine” light comes on, is a loose gas cap. However, it is better to err on the side of caution.

 

  • Don’t assume it’s the cap. It may be a cracked hose that would make your car leak fuel.

  • It is best to have your car’s hoses, valves and canisters checked to prevent any problems.

 

Engine Hesitation or Surge

 

A variety of reasons can cause this problem. It could be due to a dirty air filter. This causes the engine to work harder. The high heat and humidity conditions during summer can cause problems with exhaust gas recirculation. This system sends a portion of the exhaust back to the engine to reduce emissions. However, during the summer, this flow can build up in the intake manifold and can cause blockages and an erratic drive. If this problem is not addressed, it can lead to expensive repairs.

 

What you can do:  

  • Make sure that your air filters are checked and cleaned before going on a road trip. Blockage in the car’s intake system will cause your car’s engine to work harder.

 

Whether you’re going on a road trip or just driving around the city, the hot weather can take a toll on your car and its engine. It is the perfect time to have a general check up of your vehicle so that a mechanic can look at possible vulnerable parts to avoid future problems. It is better to have minor repairs than suffer a major emergency, and potentially major costs.

 

At American Auto Care, we service all makes and models -- foreign and domestic, We are a great dealer maintenance alternative and we offer a wide-range of car repair in Murrieta, Ca.

 

Our Certified Automotive Technicians will diagnose the problem and fix it right the first time. We worry about your car so you don’t have to.

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