Beat the heat: How to keep your car cool during the summer

Toronto, Ontario — Summer is finally here, and with the weather quickly rising, consumers increasingly need to find ways to keep things cool, especially their vehicles. Engines are known to run hot, and if not maintained, things can go wrong very fast.

Hector Garcia, a mechanic in Burton, Michigan, originally told ABC12 News that he is booked for the next two weeks with air conditioning (A/C) and engine repairs. However, he says that one of the biggest mistakes he hears from customers is that they continue to drive after the overheating light comes on.

“We ended up having to replace the engine, replace the transmission because the radiator had nothing to cool the transmission fluid with,” he told the news source, recalling a client from several years prior. “It cost him over $18,000.”

Garcia says that drivers can cause their own problems if they continue to neglect maintenance.

“A low oil level in your engine can cause more friction. More friction causes more heat,” Garcia advised. “Keep the level of your antifreeze where it needs to be. It’s very important.”

This advice has also been stated by Gary Bubar, a spokesperson for AAA. He recommends that drivers get their coolant replaced based on the frequency listed in the car’s manual.

“Folks haven’t checked their fluids, and they haven’t had their radiators flushed and filled lately,” Bubar also reported to ABC12 News.

In addition to regularly checking the coolant, oil and antifreeze levels, Bubar says drivers need to check their battery.

“It takes about a third, again, that much more power to start your car when it’s hot out,” he explained.

Garcia also explained that if drivers take care of small maintenance problems, they can stop them from growing into much bigger ones later.

“You get a cracked head, a cracked head gasket, and now we’re dismantling an engine,” Garcia remarked.

Keeping your car cool this summer

Other advice for beating the heat includes: 

  • Park in the shade: If possible, park your car in the shade or under a tree to avoid direct sunlight. This can significantly reduce the temperature inside your car.
  • Use a sunshade: Invest in a windshield sunshade to block the sun’s rays from heating up the interior of your car. These are inexpensive and can make a big difference.
  • Crack the windows: Even just a small crack in the windows can help improve air circulation and prevent the car from becoming a greenhouse.
  • Use a car cover: A car cover that fits snugly over your vehicle can provide additional insulation and keep the interior cooler.
  • Run the air conditioning: When driving, make sure to use your car’s air conditioning system to cool the interior. Aim the vents towards the back of the car to distribute the cool air evenly.
  • Park in a garage or carport: If available, parking in a garage or carport can shield your car from direct sunlight and help keep it cooler.
  • Use a window tint: Applying a high-quality window tint can block a significant amount of the sun’s heat from entering your car.
  • Avoid dark interiors: Choose lighter-colored interior upholstery and materials, as they absorb less heat than darker colors.
  • Park facing the sun: If possible, park your car facing the sun to minimize the amount of direct sunlight hitting the windshield and dashboard.
  • Use a remote start system: Some cars have remote start systems that allow you to start the engine and turn on the air conditioning before you even get in the car.

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