How to Keep Your Car Running in Extreme Heat

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Those who live in places with cold winters know that the weather can take a toll on your car. In fact, the temperature alone can impact everything from the tire pressure to how long the battery lasts—and yes, that includes hot weather. Here are a few ways to keep your car running in extreme heat from the experts at the American Automobile Association (AAA).

How to prepare your vehicle for extreme heat

According to Scott VerBracken, vice president of automotive services at AAA: The Auto Club Group, extreme heat is a key contributor to many of the large volume of calls AAA receives from stranded motorists this time of year. “Two of the most common problems drivers will face are flat tires and dead batteries,” he said in a statement from AAA.

Here’s what to do to avoid flat tires and dead batteries—along with other roadside mishaps:

Get your battery tested

Most car batteries last between three and five years, according to AAA. If it’s been a while since you’ve tested yours, now’s the time to do it—especially because extreme heat can cause a battery to lose its charge faster.

Check your tire pressure

During the summer, AAA recommends checking your tire pressure once a month, as well as before any longer road trips. You can find the manufacturer specifications for tire pressure listed on a decal that can usually be found on the doorjamb.

Inflate your tires accordingly. Not only does driving on under-inflated tires waste gas and cause overheating, but according to AAA, it also increases your chances of a blowout.

Check the depth of your tire treads

While you’re down there, use a quarter to check your tire treads. Also pay attention to any signs of uneven wear, as that might indicate inflation, suspension, or alignment problems.

Top off fluids, if necessary

Now is also the tim
e to check your fluids to ensure your vehicle is able to run as efficiently as possible, and to decrease your chances of it overheating. These fluids include the motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct amounts of each fluid, and top them off, if necessary.