Summer! What a great time to enjoy the outdoors, go on a long road trip, and take on new adventures with your family or friends. While summer is the best time to explore new places, the hot weather can wreak havoc on your car. Travelling under the summer heat can cause car breakdowns.
Don’t just work on getting your summer body ready — make sure your car gets summer-ready too for long trips and adventures!
Here are the most common car problems that you are likely to encounter during the summer and what you can do to fix or prevent them.
Some people who encounter sudden overheating engines lay the blame on the scourging summer heat. However, the primary cause of this problem is a faulty cooling system. Overheating issues can happen when the cooling system fails to absorb, transfer or release the heat. Also, a leaky cooling system can cause the engine to overheat.
- Always keep an eye on the fluid level of your vehicle.
- Use 50/50 coolant and water in your car.
- Turn on the heater to eliminate the excess heat from your car’s engine.
- Turn off the A/C to reduce the load on the engine.
- Pullover and open the hood to release the heat and allow the air to circulate properly and cool down the engine.
Broken Drive Belt
The drive belt (also known as a serpentine belt) powers multiple car engine accessories, such as the air conditioning system, power steering, alternator, and sometimes the cooling system water pump. While most drive belts last between 60,000 to 100,000 miles, the extreme summer heat can wear them out quickly, causing the belts to break.
- Check the condition of the drive belt, especially if you are planning for a long road trip.
- Change the belt if it has been a long time since you last changed it.
Failing Air Conditioning System
A good AC system makes your trip satisfying and more enjoyable on a hot summer day. Travelling in the summer with a broken AC can cause the temperature inside your car to rise to potentially dangerous levels, especially if you are stuck in traffic. Rolling the windows down would not be as satisfying as the cool air provided by the AC.
- Check the car’s fluid levels before hitting the road.
- Make sure that the battery and electrical system are in good working condition.
- Let a professional mechanic inspect refrigeration fluid (Warning: this fluid is highly toxic and its disposal is heavily regulated).
Extreme winter cold is not the only thing that can weaken a car battery, intense summer heat is no good either. The summer temperature can cause your battery to work harder to cool down the engine and other car accessories. Any malfunction in the battery component can reduce its efficiency and lifespan. A slow engine crank is a telltale sign of a defective battery and is on its way out.
- Always pay attention to the engine crank
- Make sure no plastic components are obstructing the airflow over your battery.
- Check that all battery components are in good condition
- Replace your battery every 3 to 5 years.
- Have an extra car battery ready if you are looking forward to a long summer drive.
Vapourized Fuel Leaks
Heat can cause the liquid fuel to vapourize and increase the pressure in the tank. A system of hoses helps relieve the excess pressure, which is then stored in a holding tank until the vapourized fuel can be used by the engine. However, the increase in temperature outside can cause more pressure to build up inside. A crack or leak in the hose of your fuel line can cause the vapours to escape from the fuel tank, resulting in reduced gas mileage.
- Make sure the fuel cap is secure.
- When the check engine light comes on, bring your car to the nearest local auto repair shop.
Worn Wiper Blades
Your wiper blades get a bit of use during the spring or summer rains. This causes the wiper blades to wear out quickly, making it difficult to wipe away the water from your windshield without streaking. Using worn wiper blades can eventually result in debris build-up under those nicks or warps on the edge of the blades.
- Replace worn wiper blades immediately to avoid scratches on the surface of the windshield.
Worn Shock Absorbers
Off-road summer escapades are a real thrilling adventure, but they can be disastrous to your shock absorbers. If you notice your car is a little uneven after driving on gravel or hitting a pothole, slacking when making a turn, or excessively bouncing, it could be caused by a worn shock absorber.
- Have it checked by a car technician.
- Replace worn shocks as soon as possible.
Under-Inflated Tires and Blowouts
Travelling on a hot road during the summer can put extra stress on your car tires. Additionally, the fluctuating temperature between night and day can affect the tire pressure, causing under or over-inflation. Underinflation can make the tires more prone to damage and wear. An under-inflated tire can also stretch its interior components, making them weak and more susceptible to blowout.
- Monitor the tire pressure at least once every 2 weeks.
- Make sure that the pressure readings are in line with the recommended tire pressure in the vehicle owner’s manual or the sticker on the driver door frame.
- Check the depth of the tires. If the tread depth is less than 2/32 inch, replace your tires immediately to avoid blowout.
These car problems can cause serious delays on your summer road trip adventure — don’t let them spoil the fun. There are many adventures waiting to be explored during the summer, but make sure your car is reliable to get you there. Taking good care of your car, not only during summer but all year round can take you to different places.
If you are looking for affordable yet good quality tires for all your adventure needs, turn to Round & Around Tire Inc. We carry a wide selection of brand new and used Canadian tires for your car. Our staff will be happy and ready to assist you in choosing the right tires. Need a tire change? We will be glad to do it for you. Give us a call at (905) 393-8474 to get assistance or request a quote.