A Guide to Getting Your Car Ready for a Scorching Summer

February 23, 2024

 

As winter approaches its end, you probably feel excited about spending time outdoors and planning long road trips in summer. However, the summer of 2024 will likely be hotter than you expect as scientists predict a 99% probability of the year ranking among the five warmest on record.

According to Fox Weather, an early glimpse of the climate outlook shows an above-average streak of temperatures and a hit-or-miss precipitation except for in the Northeast. Being better prepared for the hot weather will give you a head start. Think beyond tuning up your HVAC system and adding cool elements to your home’s décor.

Your car needs even more attention because it bears the brunt of the scorching heat outdoors. Whether you embark on a long road trip or drive around the block, your ride should be road-ready and comfortable.

In this guide, we will share a few practical tips and strategies to prepare your car for the hot summer ahead.

Start with the Exterior

The intense UV rays of the summer sun can do more than wreak havoc on your skin. It can damage your car's exterior, causing oxidation, fading, and premature aging. Parking in the shade and using a cover are simple solutions to limit exposure. However, you must do more to protect car paint because you cannot expect to get the right parking spot or cover your vehicle all the time.

According to Mizzoni’s Auto Body, applying a layer of sealant over the exterior is the best defense against the summer heat. This protective barrier acts as a shield against harmful rays, pollutants, and dust, preserving the paint's shine and color over the entire season and beyond.

Also, regularly wash your car to remove contaminants such as tree sap, bird droppings, and bug residue. These elements can etch into the surface under the sun's heat, leading to long-term damage. You can avoid it by using a pH-balanced car wash shampoo. Remember to use microfiber towels to wipe the surface clean to avoid scratching the paint.

Insulate Your Vehicle

Besides safeguarding the exterior of your vehicle, you must insulate its interior before the summer heat hits. How hot can it get inside in the sun? Surprisingly, the normal temperature inside a car can jump to triple digits at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The CDC states that the interior of a car can hit 109 degrees Fahrenheit in twenty minutes on an 80-degree day. After an hour, the temperature will be 123 degrees.

Unless you get your insulation right, you may feel like sitting in a furnace after an hour on the road. Even a powerful air conditioning system will have to work hard to optimize the interior temperature. However, installing window tints and shades can save you from the heat. Remember to check local regulations before going ahead.

You can also reduce heat transfer by using insulating materials like foam or heat-resistant liners to cover the car’s floor, roof, and doors. Consider filling gaps in the window seals and door with a sealant to prevent hot air from entering.

Test Your Air Conditioning

The scorching summer days can become much easier if your car has a functional air conditioning (AC) system. Before the heat hits hard, prioritize testing your AC to ensure it can consistently combat the heat with cold air. Look for issues such as warm air coming from the vents or weak airflow as they may indicate a faulty compressor or a refrigerant leak.

Address these issues early to prevent costly repairs later on. Another factor you must consider is the impact of air conditioning on your car’s fuel economy. Statistics show that AC use can cut the fuel economy of a conventional vehicle by more than 25%, specifically on short trips. Avoid daytime driving to reduce the usage of AC and save fuel.

Inspect and Maintain Your Tires

Summer weather affects your vehicle's tires, leading to potential performance and safety issues. The increase in temperatures causes the tire pressure to fluctuate. Tires may become overinflated due to the expansion of the air molecules, compromising their grip on the road. Hot pavement and high speeds increase the wear and compound the risk of blowouts.

Regular inspection and maintenance of car tires is an essential part of the summer-readiness routine. Adjusting tire pressure helps maintain safe driving conditions during the hot weather. Also, ensure adequate tread depth for good traction during sudden stops and rainy conditions. If your tires do not have optimal tread depth, consider replacing them sooner rather than later.

Protect Your Battery and Engine

Extreme heat can accelerate the evaporation of battery fluid evaporation. It leads to battery corrosion and diminishes its performance and lifespan. Get a Toyota car check up and professional inspection for the battery to identify any signs of corrosion. A professional will also clean them if required. Alternatively, they can recommend replacement before it starts troubling you in the hot weather.

Engine overheating is another concern that deserves the attention of car owners in the summer. The normal operating engine temperature for most cars ranges from 195 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over these numbers can damage the expensive parts and necessitate costly repairs or replacement. Check the condition of the radiator belts and hoses and replace damaged components to prevent coolant leaks.

In conclusion, keeping your car road-ready before the summer arrives is essential for safe and comfortable rides. Take a proactive approach and address problems before they become bigger concerns. This actionable checklist can help you enhance your driving experience and ensure the reliability and longevity of your vehicle.

 

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