How The Summer Heat Affects Your Vehicle

Vehicle Summer Heat

The summer heat sure beats those icy cold winters, but rising temps can take a toll on your vehicle. Much like your skin, your car is susceptible to sun damage. The sun’s harmful UV rays can damage the exterior paint and bleach the interior seating, dash, and center console. You may experience AC or transmission issues because the hotter the climate, the harder your car works to stay cool internally and in the cabin of the vehicle. Your battery life shortens due to under hood temperatures which can easily reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime. You can navigate the upcoming summer months by learning how to keep your car protected and safe.

The first step is to park in the shade or covered parking when possible. This will prevent direct sunlight from hitting inside. If this is not an option, use a sun shield in your front and rear windows. This will also lower the interior temperature of the car. The interior of your vehicle can get blistering hot during the summer and temperatures can rise well above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you get into an overheated vehicle, open the windows and doors to allow the interior to cool. 

Seat covers are another option to protect your upholstery. You can have these custom-made to suit your needs and replace them as needed. You will maintain your car’s value if your seats are in good condition. If you have leather seats, invest in a good leather conditioner that will keep them soft and supple and so sunlight will not dry out the oils. Keep all surfaces clean and dust-free. The sunlight will bake the dirt into the surface making it difficult to remove if not cleaned regularly. Use a soft microfiber cloth and recommended car care products to maintain the interior glow.

Since the heat also impacts your vehicle's operating systems, it's important to stay on top of maintenance. Extreme heat can cause battery fluids to evaporate faster. While there isn’t much you can do to prevent the effects of heat on your battery; it’s a good idea to have your battery tested during the summer by a trusted auto service center. Here at AAA Car Care, we’ll check your battery for free as part of our complimentary multi-point inspection.

You may experience issues with your AC when the temperature rises. Over time, the refrigerant level in your vehicle’s AC system will drop, and the heat can accelerate this decline in performance. If the AC doesn’t seem to cool as well as it once did, it may be time to take your vehicle in for AC service. 

The summer heat can cause your tires to wear out faster. Factor in the sizzling temperature of the road and the natural heat created by your spinning wheels, and it’s easy to see why summer can be brutal on your tires. Underinflated tires wear out even faster, so it’s even more important to make sure that your tires are properly inflated this time of year. Your qualified AAA technician can check for proper air pressure and tread depth when you bring your vehicle in for service.

The heat may also take a toll on your transmission. According to NAPA, excessive heat can cause damage to rubber seals and o-rings in your transmission and also causes fluids to burn up faster. Check your transmission fluid regularly, and pay attention to any problems when changing gears. As a AAA member,  you get a discount at NAPA Auto Parts for products to keep your car safe from the sun.

Remember, sun protection and preventive maintenance are the best ways to prepare your vehicle for the summer heat. Be sure to take your vehicle in for routine maintenance at a trusted auto service center like AAA Car Care. We offer a full range of services from oil changes and battery replacement to AC and transmission service. We back all of our work with an industry-leading 2-year/24,000-mile warranty, and each location has an ASE certified Master Technician overseeing your repair. 

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