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How Summer Heat Impacts Your Vehicle

posted 07 June, 2019 by Jackson Balling
Car Care
 
Summer is here, and with it comes blistering heat and plenty of sun. What you might not consider is the true impact of these hotter days on your vehicle. From your battery and tires to the cooling system and overall engine performance, there are many components that can be impacted by the summer heat.
 
Is your car prepared for the onslaught?
 
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Car Battery

Most people assume that colder climates put more strain on your car’s battery than warmer ones. However, according to Consumer Reports via AAA, “Car batteries typically last from three to five years, spanning from 58 months or more in the furthest northern regions of the U.S., down to less than 41 months in the most southern regions.” So, if you live somewhere south of Washington D.C., it’s likely that your battery has a shorter lifespan than you anticipated.
 
That’s why it’s important to have your car’s battery inspected once a year, especially if you’ve had it for 2 years, as the temperatures start to consistently hit the 80's and push towards the 90's. Since hotter temperatures can also cause battery fluid to evaporate faster, staying on top of your battery’s maintenance is the best bet to avoid unexpected breakdowns.
 

A/C and Engine Performance

Believe it or not, vehicles drive better when colder air is present. That’s because cold air is denser than hot air, allowing for your vehicle’s intake to take in more oxygen and maintain a higher horsepower. Air conditioning takes a toll on your vehicle’s performance in the summer, since it relies on power from the engine to keep your cabin cool.
 
With the heat already having an impact on some critical parts of your engine, such as your transmission, it’s important to be both efficient with your A/C usage and mindful of the air quality in your vehicle. One easy way to maintain a clean and clear pathway for your A/C system’s air flow is to replace your cabin air filter. This can improve your A/C system by eliminating any pollutants that have built up over time in your old air filter.
 
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Tire Pressure

There’s no better time than the summer for a road trip. But if you neglect your tire pressure before leaving or during your travels, then you’ll likely be on your way to a blowout. Driving long distances with improperly inflated tires is a risk no matter what time of year it is, but adding in the summer heat from the pavement can greatly increase your chances for an unexpected pit stop.
 
The best practice to avoid any kind of tire blowout is to routinely check your tires once per month. Having a pressure gauge handy is ideal for ensuring your tires are properly inflated, while the Penny Test makes it easy to keep an eye on the quality of your tire tread.
 

Interior Deterioration

Odds are that the only time you consider the effect of hot summer days on your car’s interior is when get inside of it and feel the sweltering heat. After an hour of direct sunlight in 95 degree heat, your car’s cabin can reach over 140 degrees! Combine that heat with direct UV rays and suddenly your dashboard is at high risk for drying and cracking. Leather seats can also dry out over time when exposed to sunlight, which makes routine leather conditioning a priority for owners in the summertime.
 
If you’re looking to keep your car cool and protected this summer, then don’t miss out on a free Spiffy Sunshade! Sunshades are great for minimizing sun damage to the dashboard and seats in your vehicle’s cabin and keeping the temperature down while you’re out of the car.
 
You can score one of your own when you book Spiffy services 3-5 all month long, but only while supplies last. Don’t miss out on yours!
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Posted in Car Care

Written by Jackson Balling

As Spiffy's Content Marketing Specialist, Jackson produces our written content as well as the Vehicle 2.0 Podcast with Scot Wingo. As the lone Buffalo, NY native in the office, his woes as a sports fan are well-documented.