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Automotive tips for Tucson’s hot summer months

When you live in Tucson you need to be prepared for the summer months.  We are in for some extreme temps in the old Pueblo the next couple of days, and then again next week.  These high temperatures can take their toll on people, animals and even cars.  Extreme heat can push a vehicle past its limits.

Listed below are four key areas Micro Import Service recommends drivers address to help their vehicle safely survive the high desert temperatures:

1)      Keep your engine cool…your cars engine works harder in the summer, and it is the cooling systems job to protect the engine from overheating.  Over time, engine coolant becomes contaminated and its protective additives are depleted.  That’s why the system should be flushed and the coolant replaced periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.  Micro Import Service inspects this for you, but if you haven’t been in, or your car is due, please call Mike or Travis at 520-795-8724 & schedule an appointment.

2)      Keep your tires properly inflated…our technicians check your tires when you’re here at the shop, but in between visits you should be regularly checking the tire pressure.  According to Rubber Manufacturers Association, 85% of motorists do not know how to properly inflate their tires.  Underinflated tires run hotter than properly inflated ones, developing excessive heat that leads to tire failure.  Now combine that with the extreme summer heat, and the problem becomes more of a concern.  An underinflated tire also wears abnormally, with the tread on the outside edges of the tire wearing faster than the tread in the center of the tire. Driving on underinflated tires can cost you up to a mile a gallon in fuel economy because it takes more fuel to overcome the rolling resistance of a partially inflated tire. It is also dangerous. Driving on underinflated tires adversely affects handling and the tire can overheat and blowout.

3)     Battery…heat can zap the life from a car battery.  Heat & vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies leading to internal breakdown & eventual failure.  There’s not much we can do about the heat, but having your battery securely mounted in place will minimize vibration.  Another potential problem is faster evaporation of the battery fluid, leading to corrosion on terminals & connections.  When your car is at Micro Import Service, our technicians will inspect your battery, and will clean any corrosive build up from the battery terminals and cable clamps, and ensure the clamps are tight enough so that they will not move.

4)      Cars need fluids, too…we’re told to keep ourselves hydrated during the hot temperatures here in Tucson. Engine fluids are essential to keeping your car running smoothly; most fluids not only lubricate, they also serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components.  When fluid levels are low, this cooling effect is reduced, and the possibility of overheating increases.  Our certified technicians always check your fluid levels (motor oil, transmission, power steering & brake fluids) to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.  But in the extreme temps, it doesn’t hurt to check these in between services and top off if needed.

So you take all precautions, but summer breakdowns can still occur.  And waiting for a tow truck can take anywhere from ½ hour to an hour or better.    If you don’t have an emergency car care kit in your vehicle, now is the time to get it.  The kit should include items such as water, non-perishable food items, a flashlight (extra batteries, too!) jumper cables, first aid kit, road flares, and some basic hand tools.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call Mike or Travis at 520-795-8724.

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