Just this past weekend, temperatures were feeling like the high 30s and it’s only the second week of summer! We know already that this summer is going to be hot, so prepare yourself and your vehicle for the coming heat with these tips from Subaru of Niagara
When the temperature rises, the cooling system in your car has to work harder to keep the engine cool. Driving long distances on a hot day can cause your vehicle to overheat more easily if you don’t check your cooling system regularly. Making sure that the coolant levels are where they should be with the proper mixture of anti-freeze and water (usually 50/50, but check your owners manual or talk to your service team to confirm) will ensure that your car will run smoothly in hot weather. Remember, when checking coolant levels, never remove the radiator cap while your engine is hot or right after you have been driving; it could cause hot steam or boiling liquid to spray and you could be seriously injured. Watch out for warning lights on your dash, as heat can have major effects on your automatic transmission too!
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to make sure your A/C is working properly. To do this, simply turn on the A/C, put it on high and feel for cool air. If it is not blowing that refreshing cool air you’re expecting, the refrigerant charge may be low and you should get it checked by your service team for any leaks before adding more. Make sure there is no musty or unfamiliar odor either; this could be a sign that the cabin filter needs to be replaced.
And another part of your cooling system is the cooling fan. The cooling fan should turn on when you turn your air conditioner on high. If there is no fan at work, it could mean that there is a defective fan motor or electrical problem. If your engine has a belt-driven fan with a fan clutch and it is worn out it could cause the engine to overheat. If the fan clutch is leaking or spins with little resistance, the clutch may need to be replaced. And of course, we don’t expect you to know why it isn’t working, that’s what we’re here for!
Believe it or not, hot weather is harder on batteries than cold weather. For non-gel batteries, it increases the rate of evaporation of the fluid inside the battery, and when that happens, you battery could die rather unexpectedly. Replacing old batteries (4 or 5 years old), checking and replacing water levels (with distilled water only) or having your service team check your battery’s life will help to keep your battery lasting longer. Worried something still might happen? Maintain your peace of mind by keeping a set of jumper cables in your vehicle and keep the Subaru C.A.R.E number saved in your phone.
In any weather, you should make sure to check tires for any wear, uneven wear, age cracks or damage, especially before an upcoming road trip. You should also regularly check the inflation pressure in all of your tires, including the spare. Under-inflated tires can overheat and cause a blow out.
Oil and regular maintenance
Keeping up with regular oil changes and maintenance will help to keep your Subaru from overheating. Replacing old oil with fresh oil can increase the lubrication protection for your engine. One thing to consider for the summer months is switching to a heavier viscosity motor oil (example: 5W-30 to 10W-30). Your service technician can advise you about the benefits of doing so.
Exterior and Interior
As we have said before, keeping your vehicle clean throughout the year will help to keep it lasting longer. The same goes for protecting it against the heat. Intense sun and heat bakes a car’s finish and can crack the interior vinyl and plastic surfaces. Keeping up with regular washes and waxes will help to reduce exterior damage while simple things like closing your sunroof shade, using a sun shade on your windshield and cracking open windows will help hot air to escape and protect interior and keep your car cooler.
Taking the time to protect your Subaru against the heat isn’t difficult and will keep your vehicle on the road to help your reach those great Niagara events. Most of these simple checks can be done on your own with basic supplies, but if you ever need any help, Subaru of Niagara’s service department is here when need them!