How to Avoid Common Summer Car Problems

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You’ve just hit the road, the sun is shining, your summer playlist is blaring, your friends are in the back seat singing along with excitement, and nobody has said the dreaded ‘are we almost there yet?’ Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Until the car breaks down midway through the journey from a problem you never would expected. As a bonus, it starts to rain.

It sucks, we know. We’ve been there too. Summer can be just as hard on your car as winter, but people don’t always realize this. From extreme temperatures to the road trips simply adding miles and wear: summer has its own share of car problems to watch for. To help prevent your dream road trip from turning into a nightmare, make sure you know about the following summer car problems and how to avoid them.

1. Dead battery

Long-distance drives in summer, often with several entertainment devices connected, can lead to your car’s battery wearing out a little too quickly. Most of us have dealt with this before. At some point or another we’ve had to ask a stranger to jump our car (or if they have jumper cables).

If your having trouble with jumper cables not starting you care, click here!

What do I do?

First, check the age of your battery. It’s ideal to get a new battery every 3 to 5 years. If possible, avoid taking lots of short trips and try to go for a long-distance drive regularly to perfectly recharge your battery. And, just in case the inevitable happens, make sure to keep jumper cables in your car.

2. Alternator problems

Your alternator is an important part of your car; it takes the power created by the battery and sends it to all of the electrical components in the car. Having your alternator break while you’re driving can be a scary experience. But extremely hot temperatures and the demand of powering up multiple devices can exert a strain on your alternator.

What do I do?

If you notice the battery or alternator warning light flickering, pull off the road as soon as is safely possible and call an emergency auto repair service. Make sure you take your car for a tune up before going on any road trips to avoid having it break or fail while driving.

3. Failed clutch

Planning on driving through the highway in warm, summer months? Keep an eye out for clutch failure. It’s very rare for clutches to simply fail, but hot weather isn’t kind to your clutch. They often exhibit signs of damage, like slipping, a heavy or gritty feeling when you press the clutch or a change in biting point.

What do I do?

If you suspect your clutch is wearing then get it serviced before heading on your road trip. Even if you don’t see or suspect a clutch problem, getting your car checked before you go on a road trip can save money and time down the road. If you plan to tow something, make sure it’s properly loaded and that your car has the correct towing capacity.

4. Flat tires

Most tires only have a lifespan between 25,000 and 50,000 miles and should be replaced regularly to avoid flats! However, even newer tires are at risk of punctures and blowouts if not correctly looked after. Both of which can be time-consuming and possibly life-threatening.

What do I do?

Make sure you check your tire pressure regularly and keep it topped up to the recommended PSI level. If one tire loses air more than others it may be a sign of wear. You should also examine the rubber all around the tire for cracks, rubbing and signs of erosion and make sure you have more than the legal minimum tread on your tires. Don’t forget to double check your trunk for a spare tire- and make sure your spare is also kept at the proper pressure!

Car problems can be extremely annoying, but if you know how to avoid or troubleshoot them, at least they won’t make a mess of your perfect road trip. And always get your car checked out before you

6 Tips to Protect Your Car From Lynchburg’s Extreme Heat and Weather

Summer has finally come to Lynchburg, and it is not gentle on your car. The extreme heat can get can wreak havoc on everything in your car – from the dashboard to the tire pressure, and even the engine! That being the case, it’s crucial to take a few simple steps to protect your car from the blistering heat and its damaging effects before it’s too late. Here are 6 Tips to Protect Your Car from the Extreme Heat…and save yourself money in the process!

Scheduled Maintenance

The best solution to fix minor issues before they turn into huge, costly problems, and to avoid those issues altogether is to make sure your car is regularly maintained throughout the year.

Interior Protection

Remember those cardboard window shades everyone use to have?  Well they may be out of style, but they were on to something. Excessive heat and harmful UV rays can damage your car’s interior. Good quality vinyl or leather protection on the seats and the instrument panel would be ideal here. You can also consider tinting your windows for enhanced protection against the sun…and looking cool in the process!

Keep Your Car Battery Hydrated

Everyone hears to stay hydrated in the summer, especially athletes.  Believe it or not, the same rule applies to your car battery. As an immediate effect of excessive fluid vaporization, the high temperature can lead to diminished car battery life. So be sure to top it off with distilled water every now and again. You may also want to keep your car’s coolant level filled up to help your radiator run with efficiency. If you aren’t sure how to check this, bring it on by any Harris Tire location and we can point you in the right direction.

Monitor Tire Pressure Regularly

It’s not just the winter when that annoying little tire light comes on. Excessive heat can lead to incorrect tire pressure. For this reason, you should regularly keep an eye on your car’s tire pressure using a pressure gauge. High temperatures will always lead to an increase in tire pressure, so be sure to monitor the pressure before you go on a drive. Refer to your owner’s manual to find the right tire pressure for your car and always follow up on any improper pressure readings.

Keep Your Car Clean

A clean, polished car does more than just look good. A clean exterior protects your car from intense heat, as well as the heat absorbing dirt and oxidation. Clean cars block radiant heat more so than dirty cars. A full service wash should also include regular waxing to increase protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays, and there are no lack of great options in Lynchburg for car wash.

Keep the insides cool

Before heading out for a drive during hot conditions, make sure your air conditioning is functioning perfectly. If you’re taking a long drive, try to set out in the morning or evening when conditions are cooler and more forgiving on your car. If you’re taking a trip with children or pets, put in window shades to help them stay cool. Always park in the shade. It’s the easiest form of protection!

By taking measures such as installing interior protection, protecting your battery from excessive fluid evaporation, topping off the coolant level and keeping an eye on your tire pressure, you can help keep your car running safely and efficiently during the hot summer months. Most importantly, ensure your car is receiving routine quality maintenance for year-round protection in any weather.

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