Is your car in danger under this staggering hot weather?

Updated May 08, 2020 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Even cars need help when the mercury starts to rise.

The dry season is par for the course in tropical countries like the Philippines, yet it just seems to get even hotter every year. The highest heat index recorded so far is 53 degrees Celsius in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, so we’ll likely be seeing more sticky shirts and sweaty pits for as long as summer is in full swing

car in flames

We know we're crazy over hot cars, but this is ridiculous

It’s easy to think that cars aren’t affected by the searing heat, seeing how they’re inorganic metal machines. But for all their sophistication, cars are incapable of looking after themselves, which places them under equal (or even greater) risk of breakdown and damage from elevated temperatures.

These are just some of the dangers that your car is vulnerable to.

Tire blowouts

High ambient temperatures can cause the air inside your tires to expand, especially when the car is running at high speed. If the tire is inflated to or near-maximum pressure, to begin with, this leaves very little room for the air inside to expand, causing the tire wall to bulge and leading to a blowout.

tire damage

Hot temperatures can damage your tires through overinflation

Many tire-related breakdowns occur during the summer months, especially when they’re set at the wrong pressure. You could be completely unaware that your tires are already overinflated, so make sure to check your tire pressure every two weeks, even more frequently if you drive long distances on a regular basis.

>>> Related: Car Tire Pressure Facts for a Safe Driving Experience

Brake fade

Hot weather makes it difficult for your car to stop. Brakes operate on the principle of friction, which generates heat when the brake pads come into contact with the disc. Particularly hot days mean that the heat around the brakes takes longer to dissipate due to the surrounding high temperatures. Frequent stops will overheat the brakes, reducing their effectiveness. In the worst-case scenario, your brakes will fail altogether.


The surrounding air makes it more difficult for your brakes to cool down

If you’re driving in the heat, try not to go too fast. This way, you’ll be able to brake more gradually and give your brakes more time to cool down until the next time you engage them. Inspecting your brake pads regularly also helps.

Engine overheat

Engines are no stranger to heat; after all, they use combustion to convert fuel into energy. But under hot weather, the cooling system works even harder just to keep the engine running at an optimal temperature.

The coolant has to carry more heat away from the engine core than usual, for instance. Higher temperatures can also cause the rubber hoses to wear down prematurely.

temp gauge

Hot weather makes engines run hotter

Inspect your engine’s coolant level at the reservoir, and top it off with the right grade of coolant when necessary. Also, check the underside of your car for unusual drips that could indicate a leak in the cooling system.

Oil degradation

Hot weather alters the viscosity of engine oil, making it run thinner and less effective in lubricating the metal surfaces of the engine. If the engine doesn’t have as much protection against friction, metal shavings can begin to contaminate the oil, leading to engine damage in the long-term.

checking oil

Oil breaks down faster in higher temperatures 

Have your car’s oil changed just before summer, and follow the recommended grade listed in the car’s owner manual. Also, observe regular oil change intervals to minimize the engine’s exposure to contaminants.


High temperatures can interfere with the chemical processes inside the battery that generate electricity, making it more difficult to hold a charge and generate power. The increased load imposed by the aircon, fan, power windows, and sunroof doesn’t help things for your battery.


Heat dries up the electrolytes inside the battery

Check the battery’s voltage to see if it still has enough power, and decide whether the battery can be charged or should be replaced. It’s also a good idea to carry a set of jumper cables in case the battery dies on your journey, so you can jump start it using another vehicle.

Fuel evaporation

If you’re driving a gasoline car, you probably know by now that gasoline evaporates quickly, and more so during hot weather. As much as possible, don’t leave your car out in the sun during the summer months.

Make sure that your fuel cap is secured tightly to reduce fuel evaporation, and fill up early in the morning or later at night when evaporation is less prevalent.


Next to the house, a car is a great way to cool down by turning the aircon to full blast. But heat can adversely affect your car’s ability to cool down the cabin, whether due to low refrigerant levels, worn drive belts, or a damaged compressor.

car aircon

A broken aircon in summer is such a hassle

Have the air-conditioning system cleaned in local repair shops, putting in fresh refrigerant and a new cabin air filter if needed. Also, avoid driving during the hottest times of the day, to reduce strain on the A/C system.   

Brittle wiper blades

Heat exposure makes your rubber wipers brittle, which reduces their effectiveness when the rains come. The higher temperatures can also melt them and leave marks on your windshield that can affect visibility.

wiper blades

Heat can also damage your wiper blades

If you can’t avoid parking outdoors, lift the wiper arms so that the blades don’t touch the windshield. You can also put your wipers periodically through a wipe-wash cycle to keep the material from deteriorating. For more car care tips whatever the weather, follow

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo


Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.


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