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Beat the Heat: Summer Car Maintenance Tips

It’s hot out there. As tempting as lounging at the pool or beach all day may be, sometimes it’s just not feasible. You’ve got places to go, people to see. And if a car is needed to get things done, the sweltering temperatures can lead to a malfunctioning A/C, burning hot steering wheel, or even a dead car battery. While we can’t bring you cooler weather, we can help you beat the heat with these hot weather car maintenance tips.


Prevent battery meltdowns: Cold weather can trigger problems with your car’s battery, but hot weather is actually just as brutal. Excessive heat can cause battery fluid to evaporate, resulting in a malfunction in the charging system. This will potentially destroy the battery. It’s a good idea to have your car inspected for safety and serviced before you head out on a summer road trip.

Get the most out of your air conditioning: Your A/C should also be serviced regularly, but if it still doesn’t seem cold enough, Mechanic Matt has some tips on how to get the most out of your system. If you are in a dry climate with low humidity, use the “fresh air” setting to bring in outside air, which allows the A/C system to cool more efficiently. And if you live in a humid area, set the A/C to “recirculate”, which eliminates the use of high-moisture outside air and makes it easier for the A/C system to cool things down.

Keep an eye on your coolant levels: Your cooling system is working overtime to keep your engine from overheating. To keep it working efficiently, make sure the coolant and distilled water mixture is 50:50. But never open a hot radiator cap, because hot pressurized coolant can spray out! If you aren’t a DIY kind-of-person, your mechanic can change the coolant for you. This should typically be done once a year, but you should check your owner’s manual for recommendations on the frequency.

Avoid sauna status: If you aren’t lucky enough to find that coveted shady spot, your parked car can quickly turn into a sauna. This unfortunate predicament can result in a burning hot steering wheel, a faded interior, and a whole lot of sweat. Consider buying a windshield sun shade which shields your car’s interior from the hot blazing sun. When you return to your car, open the doors for a few minutes to let heat escape, because glass windows insulate heat inside. You could also leave your window cracked (just a bit – you don’t want someone to be able to reach inside!) or get your windows tinted.

Maintenance Monday: Get the Most out of Your Car’s A/C


Maintenance Monday

Summer is upon us and those triple digit days are right around the corner. Is your car’s air conditioner ready? Here are some simple things that I suggest you do to get the most out of your A/C system:

My A/C was recently serviced but still doesn’t seem cold enough.

If your car’s A/C system has been recently serviced but still doesn’t seem cold enough, you can maximize its efficiency by following these easy steps. If you are traveling in a low humidity or dry climate such as Arizona, use your car’s “Fresh Air” setting. This brings in the outside air and allows the A/C system to cool the hot, dry air more efficiently. If you are traveling in a humid area, set your air conditioner to “Recirculate”. This will eliminate the use of the high-moisture outside air, making it easier for the A/C system to cool off the air and keeping you nice and comfortable.

Why isn’t my air conditioner blowing cold anymore?

It’s probably due to a lack of regular maintenance. Just like everything else in your car, like the brakes, hoses, and tires, the A/C system also requires routine service. The condition and level of the refrigerant is the leading factor in determining your A/C’s ability to cool. As the A/C refrigerant deteriorates or leaks, the system is less efficient at turning the liquid into a gas. This transition makes the gas cold. If you suspect your A/C system is low on refrigerant, most automotive repair shops have the ability to recharge the system. This service will usually cost less than 200 dollars, but can save you thousands of dollars in the long run as systems running low on refrigerant can damage very costly components within the A/C system itself.

One trick in determining if your A/C system is low on refrigerant is to start your vehicle, put the A/C on “High” and listen for the compressor clutch to come on. The compressor clutch will make one loud click sound as it engages. It should stay on steady. If the compressor clutch is cycling or clicking every few seconds, your system is low on charge and should be serviced.