Mechanic Tips

Why Summer Heat Can Be Damaging to Your Vehicle

The summer months bring hotter temperatures that can take a toll on your car. Extreme heat puts extra strain on your vehicle’s engine, transmission, tyres, battery and air conditioning system. If you’re not diligent about regular maintenance and taking preventative measures, the summer heat can lead to costly repairs or breakdowns.

How Hot Weather Stresses Key Components

Several key components of your vehicle are vulnerable to damage from prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Here’s an overview of how the summer heat impacts critical systems:

Engine and Transmission

Engine oil and transmission fluid help keep these systems properly lubricated. However, the viscosity of oil and fluid decreases at higher temperatures. This thinner lubrication makes it harder for the engine and transmission to run smoothly and efficiently. It also accelerates component wear.


Heat is the enemy of car batteries. High temperatures increase the rate of corrosion on the battery plates. Hot weather also causes the battery fluid to evaporate faster, which can lead to overheating and potential failure.


Tyre pressure increases as tyres heat up. Overinflated tyres can suffer abnormal wear and tear, reducing tread life. Heat also degrades the rubber, making it more susceptible to blowouts and other failures.

Air Conditioning

The A/C system faces the toughest job in summer. Faulty components, low refrigerant levels and dirty filters can cause the system to blow hot air and fail to keep the interior cool. Prolonged use in hot weather accelerates wear.

Preventative Maintenance for Summer

Taking proactive steps to get your car “summer ready” will help minimise the risks of heat-related breakdowns. Here are some key maintenance tips before and during the summer:

  • Check fluid levels – Ensure engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid are filled to the proper levels. Top up any low fluids.
  • Change the oil – Old, dirty oil won’t protect the engine from summer heat. Get an oil and filter change if it’s been a while. Consider switching to a higher viscosity oil for better hot weather performance.
  • Check tyres – Inspect tyres for adequate tread depth and signs of dry rotting or cracking from the sun. Keep them properly inflated per the door jamb recommendation.
  • Inspect hoses – Have the radiator and heater hoses inspected for leaks, cracks and bulges that can lead to failure. Replace any degraded hoses.
  • Check the battery – Have the battery tested to ensure it is still strong enough to handle summer electrical demands. Replace if it is more than 3 years old.
  • Service the A/C – Schedule an A/C system inspection and recharge if needed. Replace the cabin air filter to improve airflow.
  • Wax the paint – Apply a fresh coat of wax to protect the paint from sun damage. Reapply every few months.
  • Tint windows – Have UV-blocking window tint professionally installed to reduce interior heat and glare.

Driving Tips for Hot Weather

How you drive and care for your car during the summer also makes a big difference. Here are some good driving habits when the mercury rises:

  • Avoid idling for long periods when stopped. This causes the engine to overheat.
  • Park in the shade whenever possible to keep the interior cooler. Use sunshades on the windshield.
  • Let the engine idle for 1-2 minutes before driving to allow the oil to properly circulate.
  • Go easy on the accelerator to reduce engine strain until the engine is warmed up.
  • Turn off the A/C momentarily when accelerating uphill to allow maximum power.
  • Keep the vehicle well-ventilated when driving to ease the load on the A/C.
  • Keep an eye on your temperature gauge for any signs of overheating. Pull over and let the engine cool down if needed.
  • Check fluid levels frequently and top up as needed. Carry extra coolant and oil.
  • Wash and wax your car often to prevent the paint from fading.

Signs of Heat-Related Problems

Be alert behind the wheel for any of these common signs of summer heat taking its toll:

  • Difficulty starting or stalling
  • Lack of power under acceleration
  • Increased engine noise or knocking sounds
  • Leaks under the car
  • Temperature gauge reading higher than normal
  • Strange A/C behaviour like intermittent cooling
  • Battery warning light comes on
  • Reduced braking ability

Don’t ignore symptoms like these as they likely indicate a problem in the making. Have your trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle to diagnose and service any heat-related issues.

Why Choose SNC Automotive For Summer Car Care?

As a leading car repair shop in Brendale for over 20 years, SNC Automotive has the experience to keep your vehicle running reliably through the summer. Our skilled mechanics use the latest diagnostic tools to accurately troubleshoot any heat-related problems. We’ll advise if repairs or parts replacements are needed to get your car back on the road and prepared for the hot ahead.

With SNC Automotive, you can have peace of mind knowing your car will be ready for the extra demands of summer driving. We also offer full service maintenance plans to protect your investment. Contact us at 07 3205 4315 to schedule summer maintenance or repairs. With proactive care, your vehicle can breeze through the dog days no matter how high the temperatures climb.

Frequently Asked Questions About Summer Car Care

Should I use a thicker oil in summer?

Yes, using a higher viscosity oil can help protect your engine during hot summer driving. Switching from a 5W-30 to a 10W-30 or 10W-40 oil will provide extra lubrication as temperatures rise. Just be sure to switch back to the manufacturer’s recommended oil viscosity when cooler weather returns.

How often should I check tyre pressures in summer?

It’s a good idea to check tyre pressures at least once a month through summer. The hotter temperatures cause inflation levels to rise. Keeping pressures at the recommended PSI helps prevent accelerated tread wear and potential blowout risks.

Does the A/C need a recharge every year?

An annual A/C recharge is a good way to maintain maximum cooling performance, especially for older vehicles. However, a trained technician should first perform a system inspection and leak test. Recharging without fixing leaks will lead to the added refrigerant being lost.

Should I park in the garage during the summer?

Yes, parking in a covered garage is ideal to keep your car cooler and protected from the elements. The next best option is under a shade tree or using a sunshade on the windshield when parked in the driveway or parking lots. Avoid direct sun whenever possible to reduce interior heat buildup.

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