With extremely high temperatures predicted for New England over the next few days, (it could reach 100 degrees in New Hampshire today), we would like to remind drivers that extreme heat can really take a toll on automobiles. Days like today can push a vehicle well past its limits, and breakdowns sometimes do occur because of it.
Most drivers in New England know about the importance of readying their vehicles for cold weather. But don’t forget- it’s also important to prepare for the hot summer days like these. A few preventative steps can help keep you out of trouble:
Pay special attention to your tires when the mercury climbs
Driving on under-inflated tires can affect both the handling and braking of a vehicle and also cause tires to overheat. This can increase the possibility of a blowout, which becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are as high as they are likely to be over the next few days.
Tires should be checked when they haven’t been driven for a few hours. (For example- first thing in the morning, before you head out for the day.) They should be inflated to the pressure recommended by Nissan, which you can find in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s side doorjam. (Or call us, and we’ll be happy to look it up for you.)
While checking tire pressures, also inspect the treads for enough tread depth and any signs of uneven wear- which might indicate a suspension or alignment problem. And don’t forget the spare.
Coolant is your engine’s best friend on days like this
Engines have to work super hard on days like today, and it’s the cooling system’s job to protect the engine from overheating. Also, additives in your coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components from wear and corrosion. Proper cooling system maintenance will lower the odds of a summertime problem or long-term damage.
Watch your vehicle’s other fluids too
Engine fluids are vital to keeping your vehicle running smoothly in extreme heat. Most fluids not only lubricate internal parts, but also help carry heat away from critical components. When fluid levels are low, this cooling effect is lowered and the possibility of overheating rises. Have all vehicle fluids- engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid checked to ensure they are filled to the correct levels.
Heat can sap the life from batteries
Many drivers think battery problems occur only in the winter, but summer heat can actually impact a car’s battery even more. Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies. They can lead to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While it’s true you can’t do a whole lot about the heat, you can make sure your battery is securely mounted to keep vibration to the minimum .
Summer heat also causes battery fluid to evaporate more rapidly, which can lead to corrosion on terminals and connections. Have your battery checked and any corrosive build-up from the battery terminals and cable clamps removed. Also ensure that clamps are tight enough that they won’t move.
If your vehicle’s battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it inspected by our trained Nissan technicians. If needed, we have genuine Nissan battery replacements in stock.
Make sure your A/C is up to the task
Maintaining a comfortable passenger compartment reduces fatigue. This plays an important role in driver awareness and vehicle safety. A properly operating air conditioning system can be more than just a pleasant convenience. If your car’s air conditioning doesn’t seem as cool as it used to, it could mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem, such as a leak. Have the air conditioning system checked by our certified Nissan technicians.
Many Nissans today come with an in-cabin air filter that prevents outside dust and pollution from entering your passenger compartment. If your Nissan has one, have the filter inspected and replaced as needed to ensure maximum airflow and cooling during the summer months. (You should see what an old, dirty in-cabin filter looks like. You wouldn’t believe it.)
While a lot of theese things are relatively simple and can be performed by the average driver, some are best left to our Nissan factory-trained technicians. If you would like to schedule Nissan service, click here.