How to prepare your car for hot weather

ROSWELL, Ga. (CBS46) - Hot temperatures are making their way toward metro Atlanta.

With the heat index expected to reach triple digits next week, the heat will affect many aspects of our lives, including our vehicles.

Jim Hutchinson with the AAA Car Care Center in Roswell said the heat can affect several parts of a car. He said there are things drivers should check or get checked out now to keep their car running smoothly over the summer.

For one, check your tire pressure, which the temperature affects.

“It’ll affect your fuel economy, how fast your car stops and your life in your tires,” Hutchinson said. “In the summer as it gets hotter, you’re having your pressures go up. Up a little bit is okay but up too much can affect the ride comfort, it can make the tire bow up so you’re just riding on the very, very center of the tire.”

He said making sure you have the proper level of coolant is critical.

“Cooling system breakdowns are probably one of the highest tow-in situations that AAA has,” said Hutchinson. “If somebody hasn’t had it serviced in the last five years or so, it’s a good idea to flush out the cooling system, or whenever the vehicle manufacturer recommends.”

“I do see that people don’t tend to service their radiator and cooling systems like they used to,” he said. “In the old days, about every 30 or 45,000 miles you change your antifreeze, and then some of the manufacturers started coming out with 100,000-mile intervals. It became where people just don’t see that as important anymore.”

“Having the coolant level right is one of the most important things because engines overheating can create lots of expensive damage, including even a new engine,” said Hutchinson.

He also recommends checking your battery and oil level.

“Heat is what kills a battery. You don’t normally know it’s dead until it gets cold out and your engines harder to turn,” said Hutchinson. “Most cars still come with a regular lead-acid battery, and that’s fine., it’s just expected in the south not to get as much life as you would up north because of the heat.”

He said, “If your engine oil is low, it can make the car run hotter also because it’s not being lubricated as well on the inside so it gets hotter from the friction.”

Meghan Packer

Meghan Packer

Meghan Packer is an anchor and reporter at CBS46. She anchors the CBS46 weekend morning news. She joined the CBS46 team in November of 2015. A native of suburban Philadelphia, Meghan moved to Atlanta after spending two years at WFMZ in Allentown, Pennsylvania.