Keeping Your Car Cool in the Summer

As the temperature rises, you’ll want to take advantage of the sunny weather by going on day trips or lounging on the beach. If you plan to drive to these destinations, make sure your car is ready for the journey. Just like you, your car also needs to stay cool in the summer. In this post, we’ll give you some tips on keeping your car cool so it’s ready to go whenever you need it.

Why Your Car Needs to be Cool

Getting into a hot car when it’s already 25+ degrees outside is never a pleasant experience. Not only can the interior of your car be painful to touch, the heat can actually damage the material. Long-term exposure to UV rays can cause the dashboard, seats, and steering wheel to dry out, crack, and become discoloured.

On the exterior, heat can alter the colour of the paintwork and also deflate the tires faster, which increases the risk of a blowout on the road.

The summer weather can also damage the car’s internal parts. Intense heat will cause the engine oil to thin, making it more difficult to circulate. This can lead to increased friction and therefore problems with the engine.

The car’s battery is also at risk. In high temperatures, fluids and lubricants within the battery evaporate at a quicker pace and corrosion is accelerated. Sometimes, this damage is irreversible, so it’s important to keep your car cool as a preventive measure.

Parking Tips

Cars parked along a city street with a canopy of trees overhead
Cars parked along a city street in the shade.

If you have to leave your car outside for an extended period, here’s some advice to keep your car cool while parked:

  • Park in as much shade as you can find.
  • Use a dash cover and window visor.
  • Cover the steering wheel and seats with towels.

Manage Your Engine’s Temperature

Although you can’t avoid the sun when driving, you can manage your engine’s temperature so it doesn’t get too hot. Put these tips to use to keep your car’s engine from overheating:

  • Turn off the A/C and open the windows. If it’s too hot, keep the windows closed when the A/C is on.
  • If you’re able to handle the heat or can stop for a break, turn the heater up briefly to transfer heat away from the engine.
  • Add antifreeze or water to the coolant cooling system. If your engine has already overheated, this should only be a temporary solution.

What to Do If Your Car Overheats

If your car gets really overheated, you may notice symptoms like the temperature gauge reading very high, thumping or ticking noises coming from the engine, or the hood being extremely hot to touch. If you experience any of these symptoms, pull over as soon as possible to let the engine’s temperature drop. Follow the tips mentioned above to further bring the engine temperature down.

Sometimes, a break or a jumpstart is all the car needs to continue your journey. If your car is still exhibiting symptoms, head to a service station or contact roadside assistance. This applies to electric vehicles, as well. Although you can’t administer coolant to an EV, allowing it to rest in the shade or calling for help is the best way to manage overheating.

Aside from the sun, there are many reasons overheating can occur. Common problems include a low coolant level, a faulty thermostat, a clogged heater core, or a failed water pump. You can resolve many of these problems on your own, but if you’re not sure what’s wrong, have your car assessed by a professional.

Maintain Your Car

You can’t always stop the sun from damaging your car, but with frequent maintenance, you may notice damaged parts before they cause overheating issues on the road.