Ottawa, Ontario – Summer heat can be tough on cars, and drivers should periodically check their batteries, cooling systems and tires to help avoid problems, according to Car Care Canada.
Excessive heat and overcharging will shorten the battery’s life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal structure of the battery, while a malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, may charge it at too high a rate, eventually destroying the battery. The electrical system should be checked to ensure it is charging at the correct rate, and if the battery is the type that needs water added, check it often and add distilled water if necessary. Keep the top of the battery clean, as dirt can become a conductor and drain battery power.
To keep the cooling system working effectively, coolant and distilled water should be mixed 50:50 in the radiator, never plain water. Never open a hot radiator cap; instead, check the coolant level in the reservoir. On most vehicles, the coolant should be changed annually, and the radiator should be cleaned periodically with a garden hose and soft brush to remove dirt, bugs and debris.
Tires should be checked monthly for proper pressure and condition, and be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometres. Always check the pressure when the tires are cold, and fill them to the recommended air pressure found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.