How to keep your car cool in summer

Experts suggest ways to keep vehicles in the best shape during summer

Image Credit: Gulf News archives
A vehicle service centre on Shaikh Zayed Road.
Gulf News

Dubai: The summer heat takes a toll on everything in the UAE, and nothing is more exposed to extreme temperatures than the automobiles that are constantly on the road or parked under direct sunlight.

Vehicles driven in the UAE are manufactured according to the requirements of the local weather conditions and government-approved specifications but despite that they suffer due to constant exposure to extreme heat.

Under such unforgiving weather, the last thing one would want is a vehicle breakdown, which we come across often during summer.

Though the owners of new cars are regularly advised on the condition of their cars by the service advisers at the authorised dealers, motorists driving older vehicles are generally in want of proper guidance.

And, in many cases, the motorists who don’t follow a proper maintenance regime are caught unawares when their vehicles break down.

So, what are the best ways to keep your car in good shape and ensure that it doesn’t leave you stranded on a highway?

Gulf News brings you expert views on what to do and what to avoid to keep your car running this summer.

The most important things to take care of during summer are tyres, radiator, brakes and AC.

A constant eye on the car’s display will keep the driver abreast with the engine’s temperature.

If proper precautions are not taken, there is a likelihood that in extreme weather the engine heats up.

According to Glenn Power, an engineer working with AAA Service Centre, the most common issue vehicles face during summer is the breakdown of the engine cooling system.

“The issue in this region is that we have very high temperatures, much higher than in most other parts of the world, which impacts the car adversely if proper care is not taken regularly. Motorists need to make sure the cooling system is in perfect working order, that the fans, hoses and radiator are all in good order,” said Power.

While advising drivers to use coolant rather than water, he said that the radiators should be serviced or flushed.

“Coolant prevents rust and also increases the boiling point of the water in the cooling system.

Motorists should also take regular advice from trusted mechanics about the hoses, which should be changed every two-three years,” he added.

Power suggested motorists should regularly take advice from a proper service centre with regard to the condition of their car’s cooling system.

Engine oil is the lifeblood of a car and must be changed periodically. Delaying the engine service during summer could cost the motorist dearly.

“Oil keeps the engine lubricated and ensures engine parts are clean, smooth and cool. In summer, there is a chance of the oil becoming thick, which can adversely impact the engine,” said Mohammad Shahid, manager of AR Garage.

He advised motorists to ensure the right kind of oil and original filters are used.

Debris of blown out tyres is the most common sight on UAE highways during summer, which goes to show how important proper tyre maintenance is for our safety on the road.

Tyres suffer the most during summer, wearing out at a higher rate when exposed to the extremely hot tarmac.

“During summer tyre pressure should be checked every week and the pressure should be kept at an optimum level as over- or under-inflated tyres could lead to uneven wear. The right pressure level varies for different car makes, and motorists can refer to user manuals of their cars to know the right pressure,” said Shahid.

Some of the ways motorists can improve tyre safety is by rotating the tyres every 8,000 to 10,000 kilometres as well as ensuring the tread level of the tyre is not below 1.6mm.

Driving a car in the UAE without an air-conditioning system is hard to imagine and, under extreme pressure of the summer, it is common for ACs to give way.

“Air conditioning is very important in this climate and it should be serviced every year. It is common for the best of ACs to underperform or be less effective during summer. Additional pressure on the battery and compressor means there is a likelihood of the AC breaking down. To avoid this the best thing is to get it serviced in advance and to ensure there no faults with the any of its parts,” said Shahid.

Power offered a few tips to use the car’s AC during summer.

“When starting a car that has been sitting in the sun, always open the windows for a few minutes or put the air circulation to exterior air as the outside air will be cooler than the air inside the car and after that put the AC back to normal,” said Power.

Another key aspect of the car’s safety is the braking system. Brake pads wear out quicker during summer and it is necessary to get them checked by an expert.

“A worn out brake could be deadly on the road, particularly during summer. A key indicator of brake wear and tear is the vibration when the brake pedal is pushed. If you feel there is an unusual feel to the brake consult a mechanic immediately,” said Shahid.

Both Power and Shahid advised motorists to follow a maintenance plan, which will save the need for any extra repairs in the summer

“People tend to be lazy or take the wrong advice and then they end up with problems. The best thing is to follow a proper maintenance plan with periodic checks and services, which will save you all the headache,” added Power.

Leaving the car during vacation

Leave your car in the shade or cover it

Leave the windows slightly open

Do not leave any pressurised containers in the car

Leave the battery connected

Never leave valuables in the car or bottles or aerosol cans.