Common Texas Car Problems and How to Avoid Them
1. Car Batteries Do Not Last as Long
A common Texas car problem is, shorter battery lives. Many people worry about car batteries in cold climates, but heat can be just as bad, if not worse, for your car battery. The hot temperatures can dry up fluids, causing corrosion to build upon your battery, leaving you stranded on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck. In fact, AAA received over a million calls for battery issues in the warmer months of 2018.
Car batteries in the northern states generally last about five years. In contrast, batteries in hotter climates, such as Texas, will last approximately three years. Don’t be one of the million calls to AAA. Keep an eye on your battery by doing frequent visual checks to ensure it is secure in its brackets, and there is no corrosion. And always travel with jumper cables just in case.
If you are concerned that your battery isn’t doing the job, you can also invest in an absorbent glass mat battery. While more expensive, they are low maintenance and last longer in hot climates.
2. Tire Damage
Hot roads are common in Texas. When a hot, poorly inflated tire meets a hot highway, it can lead to a blowout because an under-inflated tire creates more heat and will wear down more quickly. Check your tire pressure frequently; we suggest about once a month. Fill your tires to the setting recommended on the placard on your door jamb, on your tire, or in your car’s owner’s manual. Consider getting a tire pressure gauge. It is a low-cost investment that could save you lots of money in tire repair and replacement. Another way, is to go to your repair shop and ask them to check your tire pressures. Most shops are happy to provide that service for you.
Hot roads can also affect the tread on your tires, slowly wearing them down until they are bald. Keep an eye out for wear on your tires and get them rotated (every 6,000 miles is the most common recommendation) or replaced when needed rather than risking a blowout, which can be expensive and very dangerous to the people in the car.
3. Vehicle Fluid Loss
Fluids are essential to your engine, transmission, brakes, and other parts of your car. If your fluids are low, it can cause expensive and sometimes irreparable damage. Hot climates can cause your vehicle’s fluids to evaporate or age, making them less effective at lubricating. Even gasoline is affected by the heat as it will evaporate from your gas tank and limit your fuel efficiency.
Luckily, monitoring and extending your vehicle’s fluids is pretty simple. First, try to park your car in a garage, carport, or under shade to keep your gas from evaporating as quickly as it would in the hot sun. This will also help prevent the dreaded seatbelt burns that can occur on a hot Texas day.
Learn how to check your vehicle’s fluids yourself. Check your owner’s manual to find the locations of the different fluids that your car uses. Check them regularly, making sure to take your vehicle to your mechanic if any of the fluids are low, too thick, or burnt. While you are at it, make sure to check under your car for any leaks.
You should be checking more often than you would in a colder climate. Talk to your mechanic about a good schedule for a vehicle in Texas.
A Few Other Things to Consider for Texas Drivers
There are a few other common Texas car problems that, while not necessarily dangerous or costly, can be inconvenient.
Windshield wipers can warp or melt and stick to your windshield. It can be helpful to lift them from your windshield when you aren’t driving. And again, parking in the shade will help with this.
Your air conditioner will work a lot harder in hot weather, so make sure to have it serviced frequently. Replacing your vehicles cabin air filter will help your air conditioner run longer and more efficiently.
Because you can still get stranded, even if you keep your car in good condition, you should always have certain things in your vehicle. Keep a bottle of water, sunscreen, and a first aid kit.
The best thing you can do is find a good mechanic whom you trust. With their local knowledge, they can help keep your car running and on the road. At Northwest Auto Center of Houston, we are here to help you with all your needs and questions. Call us today at (281) 894-8880.