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Safeguard your car against the heat wave

11.11.2015

IS IT just me, or is it hot out there? These last few weeks have been scorchers! Pretoria has experienced some of the highest temperatures in its recorded history and we are all feeling the heat across the country. But, while we’re sitting in our air-conditioned offices, we can very easily forget about our cars so I’ve decided to put together a list of things to check in order to keep your car running cool during these hot days.

Extreme temperatures or heat waves are certainly not good for your car. Many things could easily go wrong and in some cases possible problems, that could have occurred earlier, tend to be drastically accelerated and magnified. These could pose serious danger to you as you drive your car.

Make sure your air conditioning is in top form; staying cool while driving, not only keeps you comfortable but helps you stay alert. If you do happen to find that your aircon unit isn’t pumping out enough cool air then have it checked - it might need a gas refill as this is the most common cause of it not working properly, but it could be something much worse. The best thing to do would be to have it checked out by your trusty mechanic.

Check your car’s battery. High temperatures and higher than normal loads, due to running the aircon excessively can cause it to wear out and fail faster.  Once again call on your trusty mechanic in this department and have the battery and the complete charging system checked to make sure it’s running at its peak performance level.

Park your car in the coolest spots possible; it can be affected even if it is stationary. Make sure you move it and park in the coolest places possible, making every effort to avoid direct sunlight on your car where possible. Apart from certain parts in the car being damaged, heat can also cause fuel to evaporate from your fuel tank and you don’t want that.

Do not strain the transmission; it’s easy for the transmission to heat up, causing friction and heat and ultimately serious damage to your transmission system and other parts of the car. You must therefore avoid straining your transmission at all costs when temperatures are high. For instance, avoid towing anything.

Don’t neglect the tyres! Insufficient pressure is enemy number one for tyres, but heat is another dangerous foe as well. If you drive with improperly inflated tyres on a very hot day, you are flirting with disaster. The hotter the road surface, the greater the risk of a blowout! 

To prevent flat tyres and braking problems, check your tyre pressure at least once a month. Check the spare tyre’s pressure as well - and while you’re at it, check to make sure it’s properly secured, especially if it’s stowed underneath the vehicle.

Last, but not least, check that your car’s fluids are all topped up. Make sure it has water in the system and that there is the recommended amount of coolant in the system. It’s very easy to overlook these things, which ultimately lead to cars overheating and breaking down on the highways causing traffic jams. Traffic jams lead to many people sitting in their cars, in the heat, which is upsetting! Rather, be on the safe side and check that everything is topped up.

Image Source: Kepmton Express

Article written by Justin Jacobs
11.11.2015
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