Wow! The heat wave last month made me appreciate all the cooler temperatures we have in the Pacific Northwest. Your car seemed like a great place to hang out with the A/C blasting at full speed, especially if you don’t have A/C in your house. But what does the heat do to your car?
When your vehicle was new, all the components functioned well, and it was a very well-designed piece of machinery. But as it ages, components will begin to fail and require replacement. Your vehicle can be a cool place for you to be during the sweltering heat. But what about your car, how is it doing? Your vehicle is designed to work under extreme heat and still function to be able to give you reliable service and comfort. Any time your vehicle is running, whether it is in the middle of winter or in an extreme heat wave, your vehicle is running at about 200 degrees. You should try opening your hood to just look at the engine in the middle of a hot day in the summer after going for a drive. It's kind of like opening the oven door with your face right above the stove. Please be careful if you do, because it is hot and be careful not to touch anything. Imagine what it’s like for your mechanic to work on cars in the summer.
With the drive to make vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient, components that were once made of metal are now made of some form of plastic or rubber. These newer materials will last for several years but eventually succumb to the effects of heat and eventually fail. We tend to see a longer life from these components in the Pacific Northwest because of the cooler temperatures and the humidity compared to other areas of the country. I have talked to other shops in the southern United States and vehicles that will last for 20 years or more in our climate will have a life expectancy of 10 years in their area because of the effects of heat and dry climate.
So, we may have a heat wave or two, but your vehicles engine has a heatwave every time you use it. Components may fail and need to be replaced, but that is expected when your vehicle is put through heatwave after heatwave for years on end.