Summer Car Problems and How to Steer Clear of Them!

Summer is coming, and with the sunny weather comes trips to the beach and maybe even a road trip or two with your mates. The last thing you want—with a boot full of cold beers and a car full of people—is for your car to break down. Unfortunately, the hot summer weather can take a toll on your vehicle.

Here are some common summer car problems and how to deal with them.

1. AC Malfunction

When it is 90 degrees outside, it takes more than winding the windows down to keep you cool. An air conditioning (AC) malfunction is one of the most common problems that drivers face during the summer. Causes include low refrigerant, faulty compressor, worn-out components, and blocked airflow.

If your AC is serving you warm wind, have a reputable mechanic in San Diego check the refrigerant and refill it if necessary. They can also inspect the compressor and all the other hoses and pipes to ensure everything is in good condition and properly tightened, as any leak or damage can stop the AC from working efficiently.

2. Engine Overheating

With the mercury rising on the outside, engines can overheat more easily, especially when you are stuck in traffic jams or doing a lot of stop-and-go driving. Common causes of an engine overheating include a malfunctioning water pump, a clogged radiator, low coolant fluid, or a faulty thermostat. If your dashboard temperature gauge is reading high or the engine starts to overheat, safely pull over and let the engine cool down before popping the hood. Once your car has cooled down, check the coolant levels and evaluate the condition of the water pump. If your car still runs too hot despite topping up the fluids, you should take it to a mechanic for inspection.

3. Poor Battery Performance

It may seem odd, but high temperatures can also affect your car’s battery. High ambient temperature can cause battery fluid to evaporate, which can lead to reduced battery performance and failure. If your battery has removable caps, check the fluid levels inside. If the fluid level is low, top it up with distilled water to maintain the proper electrolyte level and ensure that the plates are fully submerged. It is also good practice to test your battery regularly, especially before embarking on long trips, and inspect your battery for signs of corrosion on the terminals. If your battery is looking worse for wear or not holding a charge, you may be better off installing a new one.

4. Tire Inflation & Wear

Over-inflated tires can be just as hazardous as under-inflated ones. Heat can cause air inside the tires to expand, leading to over-inflation and a higher risk of blowouts. Underinflated tires can lead to heat buildup and uneven wear, as the tire deforms more than it should with each rotation. Hence

it is essential to check your tire pressure regularly, especially in the summer, and adjust it to the manufacturer’s recommended levels. In addition to pressure, inspect your tires for any signs of wear, cracks, or punctures

Tires that show significant damage or tread wear should be replaced promptly to keep a healthy grip on the road.

5. Brake Failure

The brakes are a crucial safety system, and they need to be in good working order, even outside of emergencies. Summer temperatures combined with frequent braking can cause brake fade; this is when heat reduces the friction between the brake pads and rotors, making it harder to stop the vehicle​.

The heat can also cause brake fluid to boil, introducing air bubbles into the brake lines and reducing the system’s responsiveness. Intense heat can cause brake rotors to expand and warp.

To avoid this, regularly inspect your brake pads and rotors for deterioration and replace them if necessary. Monitor your brake fluid level and have it flushed regularly.

Summer Driving Tips

Regular maintenance is key to preventing summer car problems. Schedule maintenance checks to ensure all parts of your vehicle are in good working order. Staying hydrated is important not just for you but for your car as well! Make sure all essential fluids are topped up with high-quality products, and keep an eye on the temperature gauge while driving to catch any potential overheating issues early.

Plan to start your long drives earlier in the morning and schedule rests around noon to avoid peak heat and traffic and alleviate the stress on your car. If possible, try to park in the shade or use a car cover to protect the exterior paint from UV rays. You can also use sunshades when parking in direct sunlight to keep the interior of the car cooler and protect your dashboard and seats from sun damage.

Finally, ensure that your vehicle’s emergency kit is well-stocked. This kit should include basic tools, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, extra batteries, and reflective warning triangles. In hot weather, you should always carry a few bottles of water and non-perishable snacks in case you get stranded. A portable or solar phone charger can be a lifesaver if your car breaks down in an area without immediate assistance.

Being aware of potential vehicle issues and taking preventative action can help keep you and your car trouble-free all summer long. So, make sure your vehicle is prepped and ready before the summer kicks into high gear. Enjoy the drive!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *