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AAA World Article

Handling the Heat

How to help your vehicle beat the heat this summer.

By Ayman Elidrissi

AAA World Article

Q. How can I help my vehicle beat the heat this summer?
Just as people need to stay hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion in the summer, so, too, does your vehicle need preventive maintenance to avoid heat-related issues. The following tips can go a long way toward keeping your vehicle running smoothly in the heat of summer.

Monitor tire pressure.
When the weather is transitioning between temperatures, always make sure that your tire pressure is set to the correct psi (pounds per square inch). The correct psi for your vehicle’s tires is found on the driver’s-side door jamb or in the owner’s manual, not on the tire sidewall. Over- or underinflated tires can cause uneven wear and pulling. Check air pressure twice a month.

Maintain fluids.
Maintaining vehicle fluids is essential for longevity of parts. Vehicles contain about seven fluids. The owner’s manual will inform you when fluids should be replaced, based on mileage, for the best performance for your vehicle. The main fluids most vehicles contain are engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid and washer fluid. 

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The coolant system contains many parts that can start to wear over time due to unbalanced levels of pH and alkaline. The owner’s manual details best practices to prolong the life of components in the system. The coolant system operates using a water pump that is composed of gaskets, seals and fins. These components can fail and can lead to excessive coolant loss and cause the car to overheat. Always check with your technician to find out about the conditions of all your fluids to prevent any breakdown from happening. Take advantage of inspections while getting your car serviced, and ask questions if you are unaware of how something works. 

Check air-conditioning.
Catch any potential issues related to the air-conditioning (AC) system early on by bringing your vehicle to your local AAA Car Care Center for a AAA-member complimentary AC check. Driving without working AC can be not only uncomfortable but also unsafe, as air temperatures inside a vehicle are always dramatically higher in the summer than being outside directly in the heat.

To find a AAA Car Care Center near you, visit

AAA emergency road kits and related accessories are available in all AAA Stores.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 edition of AAA World.

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