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Car mechanics give tips to keep cars working in the heat

A mechanic inspects an engine at Beachler's, Inc.
A mechanic inspects an engine at Beachler's, Inc.(WEEK)
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:32 AM CDT
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - It might not seem like it, but the body of your car is just as susceptible to damage as your own body.

While engines aren’t at risk of overheating due to their improved construction and quality, local mechanics still say the electrical components inside the vehicle need to be protected from extreme heat.

Direct sunlight can cause the battery, circuit boards and other electrical components to heat up and possibly break. In fact, car battery failure is more likely to occur in the summertime heat than the bitter cold of the winter, especially if they’re already failing.

“If you took a weak battery, there’s a higher probability that thing’s not going to start in the summer than in the winter,” Brett Beachler of Beachler’s Automotive said. The higher heat can cause it to fail, leaving the driver stuck in their driveway.

Additionally, anything that is normally sensitive to heat needs extra protection, including rubber. While the tires aren’t likely to melt off your car, low air pressure can make them more likely to break, puncture or otherwise stop working. When the outside air is hotter, the life expectancy for the tire is shorter unless properly filled.

“Tires will burn quicker on the road, because you have your heat on the pavement,” Mid-Illini Automotive Service Manager Todd Spencer said.

Spencer recommends keeping your car out of the elements as much as possible. If you don’t have a garage, the shade will help. Direct heat and sunlight can put electronics and circuits at risk, he says. If you can’t park in the shade, keep an eye and ear out for signs of trouble, such as the engine turning over slowly or not starting at all, and strange noises from the coolant system.

Otherwise, they both gave advice good for all seasons: regular small maintenance. Beachler recommends checking oil level and tire pressure often. While the tasks may seem mundane, it can save you engine strain and more costly repairs down the road. Low oil in a car can force the engine to work harder with less.

“It’s like you and I running out of blood,” Beachler said. “Our bodies are not designed to run low on blood... oil actually extracts away the stuff that’s not good away from the working parts of the engine.”

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