How to keep your car running well in summer

6 Proven Ways To Prevent Car Trouble In Hot Weather.

Hot-weather driving presents its own challenges, and in many ways, the demands of hot-weather driving place more strain on your car than the coldest winter conditions ever can. More car batteries die during summer than winter, and perhaps not surprisingly, engine over heating causes more than 60% of all vehicle breakdowns during hot spells. So how do you keep your car running, and out of the shop during the hot summer months? Its’ easier than you might think, and here is how  to do it-

Replace the coolant.

Anti-freeze loses its ability to increase the boiling point of water after about a year, so the smart thing to do would be to replace it at least once a year, right? Well, this fine as far as it goes, but what is more important is how much anti-freeze you add to the water.

Clean water is much more efficient at absorbing heat than glycol, which is the active ingredient in anti-freeze. In practice, this means that if you add more than the recommended amount of anti-freeze thinking it will make the coolant work better, the opposite happens. Too much anti-freeze actually lowers the boiling point of water, so instead of warding off trouble, you are in fact inviting it.

It is critically important that the coolant is mixed in strict accordance with the car manufacturer’s recommendations, because what works for one car, may not work for another. Play it safe, and follow the instructions for your particular car.

Change the oil.

Replace the engine oil with an oil that is formulated to provide proper lubrication in high temperatures. The manufacturer of your car specifies which type, and grade of oil to use at  different times of the year, and they do this to prevent you driving with oil that thins out too much in hot weather. Deviating from these recommendations means you run the risk of destroying your engine by depriving it of the lubrication it needs to operate in hot conditions.

However, the advent of fully synthetic engine oil means that everybody can now provide their engines with double the lubricity that even the best mineral oils can deliver, and under a wider range of operating conditions too. Although some cars require synthetic oil, and can use nothing else, there is nothing to prevent you from using it in your little runabout as well.

Synthetic oil may be a little more expensive than mineral oils, but the advantages it offers in terms of improved lubricity and longer replacement intervals, far outweigh any cost implications. So if you are in doubt about which oil to use in summer, switch to synthetic, since it is guaranteed (and proven) to work in almost all conditions.

Check that the radiator cooling fan works.

There are hardly any belt-driven fans anymore, and those that are not electrically operated, work thought a viscous coupling called a fan clutch. Over time, the oil in the coupling that transmits power from the hub to the fan itself, leaks out, or evaporates, which means that the fan is no longer capable of rotating fast enough to provide aan adequate air flow through the radiator.

If your vehicle has a viscous fan, check to see how hard it is to rotate by hand, but make sure the engine is switched off before you do this. Take hold of the fan and try to rotate it- there should be stiff resistance, and if there is, the fan is likely to be OK. However, if there is hardly any resistance or if it rotates freely, the fan is defective, and it must be replaced sooner rather than later.

Electric fans are something else; you may see it rotating, but you can’t tell if it is rotating fast enough to provide adequate cooling. The only way to be sure is to have it checked is with a suitable diagnostic computer, some of which can tell you how fast the fans is rotating. Other will however only give you a current draw value in Ampere, which must be compared to the system specs. To many Amps mean that the motor is likely defective, and not rotating fast enough. As with a viscous fan, this must be resolved sooner rather than later.

Check the condition of the battery.

High ambient temperature is far more likely to kill your aging battery than cold weather, so if your battery is more than two to three years old, have it checked out by a specialist battery dealer.

Modern testing equipment can check all of a battery’s functions, as well as its overall condition in less than a minute, so the is really no excuse if your battery dies on you during the hottest day of the summer. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that since your battery performs at only 10% below specs, it is still 90% effective- it is not.

Ten percent below spec performance represents almost all of the battery’s capacity to work in a less than perfect condition, so play it safe, and have the battery replaced if it performs even 1% below its rated capacity.

Check the air conditioner.

Your car does not need the air conditioner to be working for it to be driven, but you most certainly need it to work to make driving in summer bearable.

Nonetheless, and apart from your own comfort, some defects in the A/C system can cause serious issues for your engine. If for instance, the compressor is noisy and on the verge of seizing, you run the risk of destroying your engine when the serpentine belt fails as a result of the compressor seizing.

Thus, have the A/C system checked out by a specialist in the field, and repair any defects found. Alternatively, don’t use the A/C if it is noisy and you cannot afford the repairs, because an engine replacement will be even more unaffordable.

Adjust, and maintain tire pressures.

Hot weather, and even hotter road surfaces can raise tire pressures by as much a ten pounds per square inch, so make sure you check the tire pressures (including the spare) with a good quality digital tire pressure gauge when the tires are COLD. Pay due regard to the tire pressures recommended by the manufacturer of your car, and never inflate the tires to the pressure indicated on the sidewalls. These are the MAXIMUM allowable pressures, and you run the very real risk of suffering blow-outs during hot weather conditions if you use these values as a guide.

Apart from the risk of blow-outs, over inflation because of the expansion of the air in the tires reduce traction, and therefore your ability to control the car in emergency, or dangerous situations.