Your car needs help beating the heat, too

July 22, 2011 3:11:49 PM PDT
On a hot summer day, beating the heat may mean simply sitting in the car with your air conditioning on full blast!

However, these sizzling temperatures can severely impact your car's performance if you're not careful.

Daisy Montanez of North Philadelphia learned that first-hand on Friday. She was on her way home from a doctor's appointment when her car's air-conditioning started to struggle. Soon, her battery was dead.

"I have to jump [it] because the battery was dead," said Montanez.

This heat can just as tough on cars as it is on people.

"In extreme temperatures, batteries don't like to function. Battery failure rate is higher in extreme heat," said Jay Feaver of Warks' Liberty Service Station.

In addition to batteries, car radiators and cooling systems are under a lot of stress. Feaver says it's vital to keep an eye on your car's temperature gauge and make sure your radiator has enough anti-freeze, even in the summer.

"Anti-freeze is very important. Not only does it have lubrication properties in it, but it also cools better when it's mixed with 50/50 water and anti-freeze," said Feaver.

Tire pressure also increases in the heat, so you'll want to check that. Also, make sure you turn your engine off when you gas up. In newer cars, escaping gas vapors can trigger the check engine warning.

"We're always reminding you to take kids, pets and electronics on a hot day like today. But, we wanted to see just how quickly a car can heat up when it's out in the sun.

After two minutes, the temperature inside the car hit 108 and, after four minutes, it was 112. After a half hour, the car temperature was between 126 and 132 degrees. The dashboard was even hotter.

That's why it's a good idea to keep windows cracked open and double-check that you haven't left anything inside.