How Does Florida’s Summer Heat Affect Your Vehicle?

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By Marcus Fernandez

Hot and humid is the best way to describe Tampa this summer. On July 4, the area experienced a scorching 97 degrees, setting a new record temperature. However, for the Sunshine State, blistering heat has long been a familiar occurrence. Expect daytime summer temperatures to reach 95 degrees.

People live and visit Florida for its beaches and weather conditions that allow them to take full advantage of outdoor activities. You may know to stay hydrated and watch for signs of physical distress from the heat and blazing sunshine, but the heat also affects the vehicle you rely on to get around. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn about how Florida’s summer heat affects your vehicle and the steps to keep whatever you drive in peak operating condition. Also included are a few safety tips for you and your vehicle.

Maintaining a healthy battery

Heat is not your battery’s friend. Hot temperatures may cause a battery to lose its charge, resulting in a dead battery. 

Chemical reactions allow a vehicle’s battery to generate the power to start and keep your vehicle running. Extreme summer heat accelerates chemical reactions causing the battery to wear out much sooner. If you see any corrosion forming on the battery terminals, use a wire brush to clean them, but extensive corrosion or difficulty starting the vehicle may be signs that it’s time to get a new battery.

Engine cooling system

Your car’s engine generates heat under normal operating conditions. It’s equipped with a cooling system that circulates a mix of coolant and water through the engine to keep operating temperatures from reaching damaging levels. You should check the coolant level to ensure there is enough in the system to do the job, especially during summer months when Florida heat makes the cooling system work even harder.

When checking the coolant level, also look for coolant on the ground or in the engine compartment that could indicate a leak that must be repaired. Follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual that came with your vehicle for servicing the cooling system.

Air conditioning system

The last thing you want is driving in record-setting heat under the Florida sun with a broken air conditioning system. Having your vehicle’s air conditioning system periodically serviced before the extreme heat of summer arrives is essential when living or visiting the Sunshine State.

Hot asphalt and tire trouble

Heat causes tire pressure to increase. Riding on blistering-hot asphalt can increase the tire pressure to levels that may cause uneven wear, reduced traction, and increased risk of a blowout. Periodically check the pressure in your tires to ensure they are not over-inflated. While at it, don’t forget to check the pressure in the spare tire. 

Follow recommended tire rotation intervals contained in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to inspect the tires for signs of excessive or uneven wear, cracks, bulges, and other indications of damage. A worn or damaged tire can make stopping or controlling a vehicle in an emergency difficult.

Protect exterior and interior surfaces

A vehicle’s interior and exterior surfaces take a beating from the sun and heat of a Florida summer. Keeping the exterior surfaces clean and waxed is one way to protect them from fading and peeling. 

Tinted windows help to protect interior surfaces from cracking and fading. Another option is a sunshade to block the sun’s rays from overheating interior surfaces. If you leave a vehicle parked outdoors for an extended time, consider protecting it with a car cover or parking in a shaded spot.

Dangers of summer driving

Now that you know how to protect a vehicle from the ravages of the sun and heat of a Florida summer don’t forget about increased traffic, reckless or impaired drivers, and other hazards you may encounter. If another motorist’s reckless behavior or negligence causes an accident, you have a right to be compensated. The Tampa auto accident attorneys at Law Offices of Kinney, Fernandez, & Boire are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. 

Learn more about what KFB Law can do for you. Contact us today to arrange for a free consultation and claim evaluation.