How To Protect Your Car From Extreme Heat

How To Protect Your Car From Extreme Heat

You’ve heard people say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”? Well, here in North Carolina, it is both! Summertime temperatures soar, and humidity levels keep the sweat pouring. 

Western North Carolina, with its picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and abundant natural beauty, attracts residents and visitors alike. However, amidst the region's stunning scenery, one must be aware of the potential dangers associated with the combination of heat and humidity that can occur.

Some of the risks the heat and humidity pose include.

Heat-related illnesses: High temperatures combined with high humidity can create an environment conducive to heat-related illnesses. Conditions such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke can occur when the body's ability to regulate temperature becomes overwhelmed. 

  • Symptoms may include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and in severe cases, loss of consciousness. 
  • These conditions require immediate medical attention and can be particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

Dehydration: Heat and humidity can cause excessive sweating, leading to dehydration. 

  • When the body loses more fluids than it takes in, it can disrupt essential bodily functions and lead to symptoms such as dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, and decreased urine output. 
  • Severe dehydration can be life-threatening if left untreated. It is crucial to stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, and avoiding excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, which can contribute to dehydration.

Reduced physical performance: High heat and humidity can impair physical performance, making it challenging to engage in outdoor activities or strenuous work. 

  • The combination of elevated temperatures and humidity can strain the body's ability to cool down, leading to increased fatigue, decreased endurance, and reduced concentration. 
  • Engaging in outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day should be avoided, or appropriate precautions should be taken, such as frequent breaks, shade, and proper hydration.

Exacerbation of respiratory conditions: Humidity can worsen respiratory conditions such as asthma and allergies. High humidity levels promote the growth of mold, dust mites, and other allergens that can trigger respiratory symptoms and allergic reactions. 

  • Additionally, the oppressive feeling of high humidity can make breathing more difficult for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions. It is crucial for those affected to manage their conditions carefully and seek medical advice if necessary.

Increased risk of thunderstorms: Heat and humidity create an environment that can contribute to the formation of severe thunderstorms. 

  • These storms can bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, lightning, and the potential for flash floods. In Western North Carolina, where the terrain is often hilly and prone to fast-moving water, flash floods can be particularly dangerous. 
  • It is essential to stay informed about weather conditions and take appropriate precautions, such as seeking shelter indoors during storms and avoiding flooded areas.

To mitigate the dangers of heat and humidity in Western North Carolina, individuals should take proactive measures. These include staying hydrated, avoiding prolonged exposure to extreme heat, seeking shade or air-conditioned spaces when possible, wearing loose and light-colored clothing, and checking weather forecasts regularly. 

Additionally, it is crucial to pay attention to any heat advisories or warnings issued by local authorities and to take them seriously.

We know how to beat the heat: we drink plenty of water, exercise indoors or during the coolest parts of the day, and, best of all, head to the beach or the mountains to find relief. But what about our cars? Extreme heat can cause damage to our vehicles - especially when we’re putting extra miles on with road trips. How do you protect your ride?

5 Easy Tips to Help Your Car Beat the Heat

Take these steps to keep your cool this summer:

1. Complete Routine Maintenance

A stitch in time saves nine. When it comes to cars, an oil change in time saves…. Well, it saves a whole lot of money. Have your mechanic do a thorough going-over of your vehicle; any minor issues should be repaired before they turn into big problems - and possibly leave you stranded.

Here is a list of routine vehicle maintenance items that should be addressed on a regular basis.

  • Oil Change: Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for oil change intervals and have the engine oil and oil filter changed regularly. This helps maintain proper lubrication and keeps the engine running smoothly.
  • Fluid Checks: Regularly check and top up the levels of important fluids such as coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Low or contaminated fluid levels can lead to mechanical problems or reduced performance.
  • Brake Inspection: Have the brakes inspected periodically to ensure they are in good working condition. This includes checking the brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid levels. Address any signs of squeaking, grinding, or decreased braking performance promptly.
  • Battery Maintenance: Inspect the battery for corrosion, clean the terminals, and ensure a secure connection. Test the battery's performance and replace it if it is weak or old.
  • Air Filter Replacement: Replace the engine air filter regularly to maintain proper airflow and prevent dust and debris from entering the engine.
  • Belts and Hoses: Inspect the belts and hoses for signs of wear, cracks, or leaks. Replace them as necessary to prevent potential breakdowns or damage.
  • Lights and Signals: Regularly check that all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and other exterior lights are functioning correctly. Replace any bulbs that have burned out.
  • Wiper Blades: Check the condition of the windshield wiper blades and replace them if they are worn or not clearing the windshield effectively.
  • Suspension and Steering: Have the suspension and steering components inspected regularly to ensure proper alignment, smooth operation, and optimal handling.
  • Cabin Air Filter Replacement: Replace the cabin air filter regularly to ensure clean air circulation inside the vehicle's cabin and maintain the effectiveness of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
  • Spark Plug Replacement: Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for spark plug replacement intervals. Worn-out spark plugs can affect engine performance and fuel efficiency.
  • Fuel System Maintenance: Periodically clean the fuel system using fuel additives or professional services to prevent fuel injector clogging and maintain optimal fuel efficiency.
  • Check Engine Light Diagnostics: If the check engine light illuminates, have it diagnosed by a qualified technician to identify and address any underlying issues.

2. Stay Hydrated 

Keep sipping from your water bottle, and remember to keep your car battery hydrated as well. High temperatures can shorten its life. Add distilled water to the battery, bringing the level just below the bottom of the cell inspection hole. DO NOT USE ANYTHING BUT DISTILLED WATER!

It is also important to ensure that your coolant is topped off; this helps your radiator run efficiently and avoid overheating.

3. Check Tire Pressure Regularly 

Extreme heat can be dangerous as it increases the risk of tire failure. In fact, hot weather is much worse on them than cold weather, and they can build pressure and overheat relatively quickly. Make it a habit to check your tire pressure regularly. 

For example, give them a check every time you fuel up. This can help prevent blowouts and serious accidents.

4. Check Your AC

You know it’s going to quit on the hottest day of the year! Before you head out onto the road, make sure the AC is working properly. If not, you can recharge it yourself or head to your mechanic for servicing. In the South, air conditioning is not a luxury; it can be a lifesaver. 

5. Fix Summer Damage Fast 

It’s hard to avoid dings, dents, scratches, and scrapes when you’re out and about in the summer. Especially if you’re taking those cooler backroads and winding mountain trails, if you do sustain minor damage, keep it from evolving into a massive headache by addressing the damage immediately. 

If the damage is not so minor, and you’ve been involved in a collision, we are happy to work with you to ensure the claims and repair process is as streamlined and stress-free as possible. 

Contact First Aid Collision; we’ll get you fixed right up and back on the road in no time. 

Stay safe this summer! Remember that your car feels the heat, too, so take these easy steps to keep it in top running condition.