Summer heat causes problems for cars

By Cynthia Millard

Summer will be even hotter than normal, according to With all the other heat-related issues to contend with, no one wants to be broken down on a hot desert highway or sweltering city street.

“It overheated,” said Glendale Community College student M.D. Romero. “I had to stop and turn on the heat to get out the hot air. And, yeah, I was stranded there in the intersection and it sucked. It was very hot and I had to call my uncle. They towed it and I had to get the radiator hose replaced. I could have saved a lot more money from the towing fee and time out there, by just replacing it on time.”

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Under the hood car temperatures can get over 300 degrees in the Arizona heat, GCC Occupational Program Director Jay Covey said.

“If a battery is going to fail, there’s two times it’s likely,” Covey said. “One, in the extreme heat, and the other would be in the extreme cold. If we were in a northern area, we would expect more battery failures to happen in the fall or early winter. Since we’re down here and we have fairly mild winters, our battery failures tend to occur in the extreme heat.”

Some of the most critical matters to check, Covey said, are the levels and conditions of all auto fluids, especially the coolant.

“We tend to think of the coolant as preventing water from freezing in the wintertime,” he said. “But it also raises the boiling temperature in the summertime, and many of the manufacturers have extended life coolants, but you need to kind of keep an eye on that and make sure that it’s at the right level. Have it tested so that it’s at the right freeze/boil points because on some coolants, that does degrade over time.”

Substances made of rubber are especially vulnerable to summer conditions, even if they haven’t been used much, said Covey. He said this includes checking belts, hoses, and one of the most commonly overlooked items, windshield wipers.

“The main thing I can stress is to follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual,” Covey said. “If a person does that, with a reputable shop, the vehicle should always be in ready condition.”