Ottawa, Ontario – Summer can be tough on cars, especially during high temperatures, but periodic maintenance can help avoid breakdowns and car problems, according to Car Care Canada.

Excessive heat and overcharging shorten battery life, as heat causes battery fluid to evaporate and any malfunctioning components in the charging system allow too high a charging rate, which will eventually destroy the battery. Car Care Canada recommends having the electrical system checked to make sure it is charging at the correct rate, and if the battery is the type that needs to be topped up, check it often, especially in hot weather, and add distilled water if necessary. Keep the top of the battery clean, as dirt can become a conductor, which drains battery power.

The cooling system also works harder during hot temperatures to prevent overheating of the engine. To keep it working effectively, the coolant and distilled water mixture for the radiator should be 50/50. Never open a hot radiator cap when checking the coolant level in the reservoir. The coolant should be changed annually on most vehicles, which helps keep the system fresh and clean, prevents corrosion, and assures that the coolant has the proper boiling point and protection. Hoses and drive belts should be checked for cracks, bulges or frayed edges, and a pressure test, thermostat test, cooling fan test and visual inspection should be done annually.

Tire pressure should be checked monthly, and tires should be rotated every 10,000 kilometres. Summer heat will cause the pressure inside the tire to rise, so it is important to check the pressure when the tires are cold. The owner’s manual includes the recommended air pressure for the vehicle’s tires.

The vehicle’s exterior can also be damaged by sunlight, UV radiation, acid rain, salt, dirt and air pollution. To protect the paint and finish, vehicles should be washed weekly, and waxed every six months.

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