Eyes on safety

Weather affects your vehicle

Modern vehicles are built to withstand extreme temperatures, but weather conditions can cause problems. You can prevent the weather getting the better of your car by knowing which parts of your car need basic checks.

Weather affects your vehicle

Regularly check your tires. Heat makes the air inside a tire expand, and can lead to a blowout. For every increase of 10 °F (12 °C), tire pressure increases by one pound per square inch (PSI). Increased friction also causes tires to heat up, so under-inflation, speed, excessive cornering, and frequent braking all affect tires. Check tire pressure every two weeks during high heat. Worn or old tires also have an increased risk of failure.

Extreme weather can make batteries struggle to hold a charge and produce power. A mechanic can check the power output to determine if it needs to be replaced. Keep it clean and the terminals free of corrosion.

The vehicle’s cooling system keeps the engine working at the correct temperature. If the coolant level is low, it can cause the engine to overheat. Check the coolant level to be sure the concentration of coolant is correct. Many newer vehicles have sensors that automatically check the level.

Check the engine oil, too. Oil can thin in high temperatures, so parts don’t get the protection they need. Change your oil regularly so old fluid is replaced, taking dirt with it. Use a high-quality, low-viscosity oil during hot months, and make sure the oil reservoir is full to protect the engine at all times. Check and clean the air filter at the same time.

Air conditioners (A/C) need regular maintenance to keep them working at their best. Get it serviced before the summer arrives. A/C compressors can fail if they have a sudden demand for use, and have not been maintained.

Dirt and debris can cause scratches, and bird droppings and dead bugs are acidic, affecting paint. Rust can occur when paintwork is damaged. Regularly wash your vehicle to remove dust, dirt, and debris before it does real damage.

Exposure to UV rays in sunlight can fade and crack a vehicle’s paint. UV and heat also affect rubber trim, seals, and the battery. Waxing protects the vehicle’s paint, and parking in the shade or using a windscreen shade protects interior trim.

Weather can be tough on a vehicle, but the right maintenance can prevent problems and allow you to enjoy comfortable driving.

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