Seven Summertime Auto Myths Debunked
The added heat of summer driving places a strain on your car's cooling and electrical systems. Batteries don't live as long in high underhood temps, and the extra heat and pressure places a strain on hoses and belts. High speeds and hot pavement are also tough on tires and brakes. These are all good reasons to give your vehicle a good checkup before leaving on that vacation road trip, starting with checking the tire pressures and all the fluids. But are there good ways to prevent overheating (not you—the car)? Do you really need antifreeze in your radiator all summer? Should you use heavier oil? There are plenty of old wives' tales, advice from distant relatives and just plain weird stuff you read on the Internet that confuse drivers. Here are some real facts about summertime and your car. "Does turning the heat on really help cool an engine?" Yes. The excess heat goes into the heater core, which is just a tiny radiator, pulling the temperature of the coolant down. Of course, it will rapidly overheat the interior of the car—and you. If doing this means getting to the top of that hill without boiling over, it might get you to someplace that can check the cooling system for problems. If you need to use the heater frequently to reduce coolant temperatures, either there's something wrong with your cooling system, or you've seriously overloaded your vehicle.