Summer Motoring Tips

Summer driving can be very tough on your car, because higher temperatures accelerate wear. Here are a few major areas that deserve attention.

With the hot temperatures comes the use of the air conditioner. Running the air conditioner causes both power loss and an increase in the operating temperature of the engine. The power loss is easily addressed by the computer system in your car. It will make the necessary adjustments to overcome the increased drag. Of course, this is assuming that you have kept the performance system maintained with regular tune ups and services. The cooling system will address the increase in temperature caused by the air conditioning. However, if the cooling system is not in good working order, major engine damage could result.

Tip #1: Have a performance and cooling system check up. If maintenance is indicated, then do it.

If you are going to be towing a trailer this summer, make sure that the oil in your transmission is being adequately cooled. Heat is a transmission killer. Normally, transmission fluid is cooled within the transmission oil cooler. During towing, the fluid gets hotter and the standard oil cooler may not release the heat fast enough. This creates a “pressure cooker” effect within the transmission which hardens up seals, grinds up metal parts, and toasts clutches.

Tip #2: If you are going to tow a trailer, have an auxiliary transmission oil cooler installed on your vehicle.

We have talked about moving forward, but what about stopping? Summer temperatures accelerate the crystallizing, glazing and cracking of your brakes as they wear. Hauling a trailer intensifies the effect. If the brakes do not start in good condition, there could be trouble.

Tip #3: Have your brakes checked for condition and operation. Repair anything questionable.

The parts of your car that are made of rubber are damaged by weather and exposure to chemicals, as well as from the contraction and expansion due to temperature changes. These parts include the drive and timing belts, cooling system hoses, protective rubber boots, rubber brake hoses/parts. They should be checked before the heat of summer. If there is a borderline condition, the excess temperatures will cause them to fail.

Tip #4: Have an inspection of rubber components done and replace those that are worn.

The heat of summer causes lubricants and greases to break down, losing their lubricating properties. Lubricants and greases are used to lubricate the mating surfaces of metal parts in suspension, steering, and drivetrain components. Parts such as CV joints, tie rods, ball joints, and control arms would fail without these lubricants.

Tip #5: Make sure that regular lubrication is done to these components as per manufacturer’s specifications.

Finally, your car will not perform well if the fluids don’t do their jobs! During the summer, the excess heat breaks down the fluids more quickly. Check them regularly and replace as necessary. Remember, each type of fluid in your car has a vital function, whether it be lubricating, cooling, or used to create hydraulic pressure for braking or power steering.

Tip #6: Have the fluids changed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Get the picture? Heat is a destructive element to a car’s systems. “Beat the heat” with good maintenance habits. Have a great summer from Blackburn’s!

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