As the summer heat continues to rise, many motorists are running up their maintenance bills just to keep their vehicles going.
Dial-A-Battery, which offers round-the-clock emergency battery replacement service, noted that the incidence of car problems in the UAE tends to increase in the summer due to sizzling temperatures, coupled with reduced vehicle usage during Ramadan and school break.
Another contributing factor is lack of regular maintenance on vehicles. Tahir Ali, operations manager of Dial-A-Battery, said that unlike the motorists in other countries, people in the UAE don’t normally carry out regular maintenance on their cars themselves.
“In other regions, car owners regularly check their own radiators, tyres, filters, oil levels. In the Gulf region, not many people are fully aware of what is going on under the hold,” he said.
“As a result, in summer, many car parts, including batteries, start to fall apart or fail as a result of the lack of maintenance, and consumer spending increase in tandem,” Ali told Gulf News.
Ali noted that the demand for his company’s service has already doubled over the past month, as motorists are currently experiencing more problems with their batteries than at any other time of year.
“We see around 600 calls per month over the summer which is an increase over the milder months.” Ali said.
He explained that people’s driving behaviour traditionally changes in the summer and during the fasting period. Workers make fewer journeys during Ramadan due to reduced office hours, while parents tend to drive less in the summer, when vacation is on and there’s no need to drive the little ones to school.
Many people also leave their vehicles sitting idly on driveways for long periods, as they normally take their annual vacation in summer, leading to car starting problems.
“Car batteries are experiencing a double whammy at present, as not only are they failing to be recharged because of a decrease in vehicle usage, but whatever power they do have is dissipating because of the debilitating heat during these summer months,” added Ali.
Automobile experts have warned time and again that the summer months can be tough on cars because high temperatures can weaken a car’s battery.
“In this part of the world, summers are quite hot and the heat does affect the life of a battery. As the temperature rises, heat increases the rate of evaporation in the battery and ultimately this affects the durability and alters the chemical reaction that takes place inside the battery,” he explained.
While covered parking lots can cushion the heat to some extent, Ali said battery problems still arise when cars are regularly left out in the open, particularly for long periods.