How Heat Affects Your Vehicle

The summertime heat is sweltering right now across the country. Public pools and ice cream shops are the most popular places to be right now. Animals are staying to the shadows, and little kids are sacrificing the playing fields for the comfort of air conditioning and video games. But while most of us living things can find ways to combat and hide from the heat, your car can’t. It may not seem like it at first glance, but the heat can have some substantial negative impacts on your car. Here’s what the heat does to your car, and what you can do about it:

It Drains Your Battery

Batteries are full of volatile chemicals. Their job is to both take and hold a charge. Just like extreme cold, high temperatures have a way of changing the chemical processes in batteries, resulting in a battery that can’t hold a charge. There isn’t much that can be done about this except to park in shade when you can. Other than that, you can use a voltage meter to make sure your battery is holding a proper charge. Just in case, make sure to keep jumper cables in your car while traveling long distances in high heat.

It Can Boil Your Coolant

Cooling systems are designed to circulate chemicals and air throughout your car to keep it from overheating. The lifeblood of your cooling system is coolant/antifreeze. When driving at lower speeds, there is less air available for your vehicle to circulate, which can cause your coolant to rise in temperatures and boil, ultimately causing your cooling system to fail. The quick and cheap way to combat this is to use coolants that are designed for extreme conditions, since they have a higher boiling point. If the issue is persistent, you may consider a cold air intake system that promotes higher air flow throughout your engine.

Heat Can Cause Tire Blowouts

No surprise here; hot roads can ruin your tires. While there is a risk of hot asphalt melting away the tread on your tire, the real risk comes from within. High temperatures cause air to expand, and that includes the air inside your tires, which increases your tire pressure (PSI). When the PSI in your tire is too high it can cause the walls to bulge, forming “bubbles” on the exterior. These bubbles ultimately burst, leading to catastrophic tire failure. This is an easy fix; just check your tire pressure and make sure that it’s set to the manufacturer’s recommendation. And if you already have bubbles, have your tires changed immediately.

It Can Thin Your Oil

What harm can thin oil do? Here’s a test: put a small amount of cooking oil on a plate and rub your finger in it. Pretty slippery, right? Now spread that oil over the entire surface of the plate and try it again. Now it’s a lot less slippery. That’s because thinner oil increases friction between lubricated objects. Another consideration is that metal expands in the heat, meaning the friction is even greater. And if your oil is dirty as well, then it could really harm your car. It’s a good idea to change your oil before the summer months begin using oil designed for higher temperatures. If it’s too late for that, then topping off your oil will still be somewhat effective.

It Can Slow Down Your Air Conditioning

If your air conditioning seems to be a little warmer than you’d like, then it may need a little attention. The heat itself won’t harm you’re A/C unit, but regular use has an impact. If the air is coming out a little warm or a little slow, you may need to take it to a mechanic for maintenance. It could be as simple as the need for a filter change, but the issue could also be more advanced.


There’s no reason not to keep your car on the road in this heat; most of these fixes are cheap and easy. And if you would like a cheap and easy way to keep your car on the road legally, Good2Go Auto Insurance can help. Visit for a free quote on low rate, minimum limits car insurance today!

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