How to prepare your car for high heat

ROSWELL, Ga. (CBS46) – Warm temperatures are heading towards metro Atlanta.

With the heat index expected to reach triple digits next week, the heat will affect many aspects of our lives, including our vehicles.

Jim Hutchinson of the AAA Car Care Center in Roswell said heat can affect many parts of a car. He said there are things drivers should check or have checked now to keep their car running well in the summer.

For one, check your tire pressure, which the temperature affects.

“It will affect your fuel economy, the speed at which your car stops and the life of your tires,” Hutchinson said. “In the summer, when it’s warmer, the pressure increases. A little height is fine, but too much can affect ride comfort, it can cause the tire to lean, so you ride right in the very center of the tire.

He said making sure you have the right level of coolant is key.

“Cooling system failures are probably one of the most significant towing situations that AAA has encountered,” Hutchinson said. “If someone hasn’t had it serviced in the last five years or so, it’s a good idea to flush the cooling system, or whenever the vehicle manufacturer recommends it.”

“I see people don’t tend to maintain their radiators and cooling systems like they used to,” he said. “It used to be that about every 30 or 45,000 miles you changed your antifreeze, then some manufacturers started offering 100,000 mile intervals. It became that people didn’t see that as important anymore.

“Having the correct level of coolant is one of the most important things because overheating engines can create a lot of costly damage, including even a new engine,” Hutchinson said.

He also recommends checking your battery and oil level.

“Heat is what kills a battery. You normally don’t know it’s dead until it’s cold and your engines are harder to turn over,” Hutchinson said. “Most cars are still equipped with an ordinary lead-acid battery, and that’s good. It is just expected that in the south the lifespan will not be as long as in the north because of the heat.”

He said: “If your engine oil is low, it can also make the car hotter because it’s not as well lubricated inside, so it gets hotter from friction.”

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