Summertime Car Repair

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Summertime Car Failure

Kind of like ants at a picnic, car failure can really put a damper on summertime fun.

The good news is your auto body repair Cincinnati team is ready to help you overcome any mechanical mishaps you might encounter.

Here are the top five issues we’ve seen during the summertime months, which may help you keep a close eye on your vehicle and it’s performance.

As they say, sometimes the best offense is a strong defense. Be prepared, keep up with your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service schedule and you’ll be coasting along just fine.

Ants aren’t really our expertise, but we’ve got your summertime car failure automotive needs covered.

Failure to Launch

A car mechanic uses battery jumper cables to charge a dead battery. 

Forget the ants, you’re never going to make it to that picnic if you can’t get your car to start.

As much as we urge you to be proactive and cognizant of tell-tale signs that your car is headed for some kind of perfomrance issue, car batteries don’t really let you know that there is a problem ahead of time. Naturally, as Murphy’s Law states, they only fail when you need or want them most.

What you can keep in mind is the fact that summertime heat taxes your vehicle’s battery  more than any other climate condition.

A few things you can check are the plastic protective pieces which surround the battery. Their job is to help cool the battery and keep fresh air flowing across it to lengthen its life. The battery is required to start the vehicle.

If your vehicle is taking its sweet time starting up, the battery needs to be inspected. Now, you can do this yourself by using a battery tester, which easily plugs into the 12-volt outlet in your vehicle. If your battery is weak, the alternator will have to exert extra effort to charge it up. 

The problem here is that, if left unchecked, the alternator could also quit working on you. Be mindful of your battery’s condition and address any slow starts or weaknesses before other components of your vehicle are compromised. 

Generally, you should replace your battery every three years, but double check your vehicle owner’s manual to ensure that this schedule is accurate for the battery operating your vehicle.

A Flat Tire Gets You Nowhere

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Okay, so maybe you were on your were to said picnic, but thanks to a flat or a blowout, you’re now stranded on the side of the road with potato salad turning rancid in the increasing heat.

In most cases, with the exception of a puncture, a flat tire results from over inflation due to summer heat or just general wear and tear. Make sure you check your tire pressure before embarking on any adventures, especially those far from home.

While some newer cars are equipped with tire-pressure monitoring systems, most aren’t as yet. So, use a tire gauge, often attached to the air pumps located at your nearby service station, and ensure that your tires are inflated to the levels recommended by your vehicle owner’s manual.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

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Speaking of summertime heat, overheating is a very common issue plaguing potential road trips and getaways. The reason this tends to happen more often during summer months compared to others is because the additional heat from the environment causes your car’s cooling system to work much harder in order to protect the engine from overheating.

This means you need to be very vigilant when it comes to checking the condition of those components making up the cooling system: fluids, like engine coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, and washer fluid need to be checked on a regular basis.

It’s no good to wait until one of these necessary components has been somehow compromised and the check engine light illuminates. Or worse, steam starts spewing from under your hood.

However, if that does happen, turn off your air conditioning and turn on your car’s heater. Counter-intuitive? Certainly But doing so can help rid the engine of heat by using the fans to decrease the temperature until your auto repair team can safely inspect the issue.

Leaking!

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When the summertime temperatures rise, the pressure in your gas tank builds and must be properly vented to maintain the structure of the gas tank. 

The pressure, known as evaporative emissions, vents from the tank and into a charcoal canister inside your vehicle. The canister then absorbs the emissions and stores them until the engine starts and the vapors are dissipated. This process is made possible by a system of valves, canisters, and hoses.

A leak that is even as tiny as 0.02 inches in diameter will activate the “check engine” light. Sometimes, this actually just signals a loose gas cap, but don’t count on it, particularly if you have an older vehicle. 

Get yourself to your auto repair shop with a quickness so the integrity of your evaporative system can be confirmed.

A Hesitant Engine…

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Sometimes you might experience a summertime drive in which it feels like your engine hesitates or maybe even surges forward, rather than operate smoothly and consistently. Any number of factors can cause your engine to behave erratically; however, checking your air filter is a solid place to start with your investigation.

Similar to when you have a respiratory infection and your body is forced to work harder than usual to function properly, a dirty air filter taxes your vehicle’s engine, resulting in performance issues. Hot temperatures and humidity can complicate your vehicle’s exhaust gas recirculation, which is responsible for sending some of the exhaust back into the engine in order to lessen emissions. 

This process can cause a build up in your vehicle’s intake manifold, which could build into a blockage. This can be expensive to remove and repair, so always check that your air filters are clean, particularly if you intend to embark on a lengthy road trip over your summer vacation.

If, worst case, it happens while you’re en route, get to an auto body repair shop right away and ask the mechanics there to check the state of your air filters.

 

Don’t let the threat of car failure wreck your summertime plans. Be proactive about preventative maintenance, just the way you would with your own health, and you’ll be well on your way…