(PHOENIX) – Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed May 23-27 as Heat Awareness Week. Your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) are sharing ways drivers can beat the heat and avoid vehicle breakdowns.
Beat the Heat
Turn the wheel
You can wrap a towel around the wheel or buy a removable cover to avoid burning your hands, but here’s an easy alternative: before getting out of the car, turn the wheel 180 degrees to keep it out of direct sunlight. When you return, just move it back.
Avoid sun damage
Just like our bodies, our cars need protection against harmful UV rays. The dashboard and interior can crack and fade from overexposure. At the very least, use a windshield sunshade.
Your car’s paint and finish can also take a beating over time. If possible, park in a garage, carport or under a tree and get regular washes.
Get rid of the stink
Condensation on a dirty cabin air filter or evaporator can make your AC smell like a gym locker when you turn it on. Also, as heat enters through windows, it’s absorbed by the interior and a hot car can quickly become a smelly car. Here’s a twist on traditional air fresheners: tape a dryer sheet to the AC so the scene travels through the car. You can also place dryer sheets under the passenger and driver seats.
Cool down faster
If your car feels like an oven when you get in, roll the windows down and blast the air conditioning on fresh air, not recirculate. It forces the hot air out and allows coolant to circulate faster. After a couple of minutes, roll-up windows and set the AC on a low, steady level.
Thirst can impact your driving in ways similar to drunk or drowsy driving. A 2015 study by Loughborough University in England found dehydrated drivers made twice as many mistakes. Using a driving simulator, the dehydrated subjects engaged in late-breaking and lane drifting at a rate that researchers expect of drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Test your battery
Summer heat can drain your battery. If it’s more than three years old, be sure to have it tested. A certified mechanic can determine how much longer it’s expected to last.
Maintain your AC system
Your vehicle should provide relief from triple-digit heat so if you notice the air conditioning system is blowing low or warm, contact a certified technician. Newer models have cabin filters that block outside debris from entering the vehicle’s interior and you may want to have it inspected and replaced if needed for maximum cooling and airflow.
Ensure plenty of fluids
Just like for humans, fluids are essential for cars. Not only do fluids lubricate parts but they also carry heat away from important parts. Extreme heat will lead to evaporation and potentially reduce the cooling effect, which can lead to your car overheating.
Make sure engine (motor) oil, coolant/antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are full. If you want to replace fluids on your own, be sure to check the owner’s manual so you use the right type for your vehicle.
Check tire pressure and condition
Properly inflated tires are important year-round and during the summer it’s critical. Underinflated tires can overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. Overinflated tires can happen due to climbing temperatures. Generally, tires gain one pound per square inch (PSI) for every ten-degree change in temperature. Overinflated tires will wear prematurely and can interfere with braking.
Extreme heat can also cause sidewall cracking which can lead to a dry tire that’s more likely to crack.
NARPRO (Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals): The Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) helps car owners find skilled and honest car repair shops. NARPRO only recommends independent, family-owned, full-service auto repair shops that have passed 26 rigorous tests. Visit www.NARPRO.com to find recommended shops near work or home. NARPRO is the easiest way to find an honest mechanic in the Valley.