Tips for Driving in Hot Weather

Tips for Driving in Hot Weather

High temperatures can put stress on your car and make you and your passengers uncomfortable. These tips will help you and your vehicle stay cool whether you’re staying in Wisconsin or going on a summer road trip.

Check Your Fluids

Coolant: Good antifreeze doesn’t just keep the coolant system from freezing in the winter, it also helps your engine stay cool in the summer. Even if you changed the coolant recently, you should check the coolant level. Most cars have an overflow reservoir with hot and cold marks on the side.

Engine oil: Oil doesn’t just lubricate; it also transfers heat from the combustion chamber to the rest of the engine. This gives the coolant more time to absorb this heat and transfer it to the radiator. Check the oil every couple of weeks or after every two tanks of gas and top it up as needed. When you bring your car in for service, have the shop check for oil leaks. Getting these fixed now will save you from expensive repairs down the line.

Transmission Fluid: Most automatics come with a transmission cooler that removes heat from the fluid directly. Some modern automatic transmissions are sealed for life, while others have a dipstick for checking the fluid level. Check your owner’s manual on the correct procedure to check the level. Some cars need to be running, while others need the engine off to get an accurate reading.

Windshield washer fluid: Insects will be out in force, especially at night. Consider using summer formula washer fluid. These have additives that help remove bugs from your windshield.

Getting the Most from Your Air Conditioner

Even when in top condition, your car’s air conditioner will slowly leak coolant, resulting in poor performance. If the coolant level is too low, the compressor won’t engage to protect the system. This is best handled by a professional, as too much or too little refrigerant can damage the a/c system.

There are two jobs you can do yourself to improve performance: cleaning the condenser and changing the cabin filter. The condenser is mounted in front of the radiator where it catches the road tar and bugs that reach your car’s front end. Cleaning it will help the A/C system cool the refrigerant, improve performance.

Depending on your model, the cabin filter should be changed every 10,000-30,000 miles. A clean filter makes it easier for air to pass into your car’s cabin.

Put Together a Summer Emergency Kit

You probably have a kit set up for being stranded for winter weather, and you should have a similar kit for summer. Items like jumper cables, a first aid kit, and a flashlight belong in both kits. However, you should swap out the blanket with extra water for you and your passengers.

Keeping Your Car Cool

Even though Wisconsin doesn’t get that warm compared to much of the U.S, in-car temperatures frequently go above 120°F in the summer. In hotter climates, the dashboard can reach temperatures nearing 200°F.

If you want to go all out, you can have solar reflective tint installed on the windows. However, for most of us, a windshield sunshade is more practical. The most effective type of sunshade has reflective material and insulation. These can lower interior temperatures by 20 to 30 degrees.

Young children are more sensitive to high temperatures than adults. Consider installing sun shades on the windows next to their seats.

What to Do if Your Car Overheats

Stop and go traffic and mountain climbing can stress your car’s cooling system. Keeping an eye on your gauges and taking action can save your engine and transmission.

If the engine is getting hot, shut off the air conditioner to reduce the load on the engine. Turn on the heater. The heat comes from the car’s coolant, so this helps get the engine temperature under control.

If the temperature gauge goes into the red or the transmission or coolant light comes on, pull over immediately. Shut off the engine, but keep the ignition switch on to keep the radiator fans running.

Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot. The coolant system is under pressure and unscrewing the cap will release a torrent of boiling hot antifreeze. If you need to add coolant, do so through the overflow tank.

When Accidents Happen, Call Us

Merton Auto Body has been the choice for auto body repair in the Lake Country area for over 70 years. Why? We’re the first choice for many major insurance carriers, we have an on-staff appraiser, and we offer a lifetime warranty on our repairs. That means collision repair takes less time and will be done right when you choose us. If your zip code is 53089, 53092, 53066, 53188, 53072 or 53058, we’re a short drive or tow away in Sussex, WI.

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