Four Summer Car Myths Debunked

The dog days of a Kansas City summer have been especially brutal this year. Triple digit temps came early and stayed and coupled with a lack of rain and we’re already contemplating fall.

When should you fill up your car?

But summer’s not over yet and we’re still hearing some of the myths of summer driving. So before you head off into that summer sunset let’s chat about a few of them and debunk four once and for all.

  1. Did you uncle (or grandpa) ever tell you that you don’t need anti-freeze in the summer? That water is just fine? Well, technically he’s not wrong except that he’s not right. Huh? Water will cool your engine but you’re not getting the critical anti-corrosion and anti-wear additives that come with antifreeze. We recommend a 50/50 mix of water to antifreeze all year round. So you can tell your granddad that he’s half-right.
  2. When I was in college and driving my 1979 Datsun B-210 I would occasionally have to turn on my heater in the summer if the temperature gauge began to creep up to cool off the engine. My brother made fun of me for doing it but was I wrong? Nope! Using your car’s interior heater does draw some heat from the engine and will get you over the next hill or to an auto shop to get the cooling system checked out. Sallas Auto Repair can help with that!
  3. Ok, here’s one that seems to be an argument between husbands and wives: does it use less fuel to drive with the AC on or the windows open? Boy, did we hear that as kids. Here’s the complicated answer: opening the windows while driving on the highway increases drag but driving with the AC on consumes horsepower. You can’t really influence the aerodynamics of a huge pickup or SUV so if it’s not terribly hot you can keep the windows open. A low profile vehicle like a Prius will suffer from the drag so it’s better to keep the AC going on the highway. But here’s the real test: will it mess up my hair?
  4. With all the talk about gas pumps ripping us off how about this question? Is it better to buy gas in the morning when the fuel is cooler? Does the gas warm up and expand as the day heats up giving me less when I pump? Nah. The gas is stored underground where temps don’t vary much at all so the gas you pump at 8am is the same temperature as the gas you pump at 4pm. However, excessive heat brings ozone alerts so refueling your car is best done early in the morning or late in the evening.

For any other car questions you need answered (or myths debunked) just come in or call us at Sallas Auto Repair. We know and love cars and we can recommend any maintenance or make any repairs your car might need. And while we consider ourselves neutral we are occasionally called upon to referee whether or not you have to put the mirrors and seats back after you use your wife’s car. Hint: you really do.


Cooling System