Summer can be especially hard on cars

Staff writer

Tire trouble, engine overheating, failing air conditioning — summer brings its own set of woes for drivers.

When a car overheats, the problem often isn’t the coolant level, but rather is an issue with the radiator condenser, said Kurt Funk, service adviser at Midway Motors in Hillsboro.

“Often the condenser is restricted because it’s gotten plugged with dirt, debris or insects that can cause the radiators to overheat,” Funk said.

That may not be a problem the owner can spot in a visual inspection.

“Sometimes that requires taking apart several things to get to it. That’s not something most people could do,” he said.

Tire pressure problems also are more common in the summer.

“Keep an eye on the tire pressure and coolant level,” Funk said. “Some of these things are there most of the time. The extreme heat or cold will show it up because everything needs to be at its peak performance for the car to operate properly”.

Part of routine maintenance is making sure the battery is in good health, Funk said.

“A lot of times it’s the winter that makes that battery show up, but a lot of the damage comes from the summer,” he said. “Sometimes the battery comes with a little blanket around it, and it’s important for that not to be thrown away.”

The blanket helps protect the battery from heat of the engine.

David Leith, owner of Leith Service, advises people to stay on top of routine maintenance and listen to advice from a reliable mechanic when they say something needs work before the car develops a major mechanical problem.

“We can look and see the problem,” Leith said. “A lot of times parts are bad, like the compressor.”

Belts might need to be replaced before they break.

“Sometimes they look good, but if they get old and rotten they might break. If you don’t get it shut down, you could blow the motor,” Leith warned.

If an engine overheats, Leith said the car needs to be shut down immediately. He recommends keeping an eye on the temperature gauge while driving and stopping before the needle reaches the red portion of the gauge.

Always use a blend of half coolant and half water in Kansas, Leith said.

“In North Dakota, it might be different,” he said.

Refrgerant might need recharged if an air conditioner stops working correctly, or a mechanical problem could be the cause, Leith said.

Last modified July 13, 2016