LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — As the red mercury in thermometers continues to rise, many of the objects we use in our everyday lives take a beating from the weather shift in Arizona.
From the large dust storms, monsoon downpours and scorching heat of the desert sun, a car takes the brunt of the punishment during the summer, but there are ways to keep it running at its best and looking good.
According to Richard Klein, 56th Force Support Squadron senior mechanic, always check the coolant, motor oil and windshield wiper fluid to help prevent issues that could leave a driver stranded in the heat of the desert. Never check coolant when the engine is hot. It can boil over and due to high pressure and heat, it can cause severe burns to skin on contact.
Tire pressure during the summer months is especially important. As the temperature rises, the air in the tire expands which can lead to over-inflation and a possible blow-out or flat tire. Check tire pressure during normal temperatures to ensure the correct pounds per square inch. This can also improve fuel economy.
A common issue that is not really thought about is the car battery. According to the The Weather Channel, excessive heat and overcharging can shorten the life of a battery. Desert heat can cause battery fluid to evaporate, damaging the battery. This can cause a malfunctioning component in the charging system allowing too high of a charging rate, which will eventually destroy the battery. Keep the top of your battery clean of dirt and corrosion. If you have to top off the battery cells, use distilled water and check it often, especially in hot weather.
Another tip is to park the car in shade if possible. It will keep the car cooler but also prevents sun damage to paint and prevents over-inflation of tires. Regularly waxing the vehicle using an ultra violet protection polish will help reduce paint fading and sun damage. Spend a little extra and buy a sunshade for the windshield. It helps prevent sunlight from heating the interior of the car, which causes cracking and fading of inside surfaces, not to mention keeping it much cooler.
Short trips around town can be a drag on fuel when using air conditioning, but on long car rides, keep the A/C running. It improves aerodynamics, preserves the driver’s and passengers’ comfort, and keeps everyone more alert and safe on the roads.