Air conditioning, running engines, and gasoline: the pros and cons of driving in the Gloucestershire heat
With the sun shining on us in temperatures above 20C, drivers strive to separate fact from fiction on the roads when it comes to cars and the UK’s heat.
Is it really true that turning on the heater in hot conditions will cool your car engine, or is it just a myth?
And can you really fry an egg on a hot bonnet?
Scrapcarcomparison.co.uk has answered some of the “fact or fiction” questions that confuse many of us – and the answers can only surprise you.
Will turning on the heater in the car really cool my engine down?
Yes that’s true. While it can make you hotter, feeling safe will help cool the engine. Turn off your air conditioning and turn on the heater.
This will blow excess heat from the engine into the car. Idle your car or park and then crank the engine. This will make the fan and water pump work faster, which will pull more air and water through your car’s radiator. This increased circulation cools the engine down. You can also pull up and open the hood.
Will the air conditioning use more fuel than the windows open?
No, that is not true. Based on a study by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), driving with the windows open and the air conditioning switched on is usually a more economical driving style.
Overall, the studies have shown that driving with the windows down has a significant negative impact on fuel efficiency – more so than using the vehicle’s air conditioning.
Is itok, just put water in the car radiator?
No. The old way was that it is better to only put clear water in your car radiator in the summer. But if you keep doing this, you might run into problems.
The coolant contains anti-corrosion or anti-wear additives that help your cooling system. Also, you dilute the coolant mixture slightly each time, which means that in winter your coolant would freeze and damage your engine.
Always use the correct mixture of fresh coolant and water.
Is it true that your car needs thicker oil in the summer months?
Generally no. Modern oils are very effective in all temperature ranges, and new engines are specifically designed and tested for use with the type of oil listed in your owner’s manual.
When there’s a thunderstorm, is it a bad idea to hide in a car because of its metal frame?
The car behaves like a Faraday cage so you will be safe if you are not touching any metal parts in the car. The metal in the car protects you from external electrical fields and prevents the lightning from spreading in the car.
One such answer is that cars have rubber tires that isolate them from the ground – but those in the physics world say this is nonsense!
Then is it safe to use my phone in the car during a thunderstorm?
No, your phone has metal components. So don’t hold it in your hand on your ear. While your car gives you some protection, it may not give you complete protection.
Can’t you really use your cell phone at a gas station?
Although gas stations ask you to switch off, scientific tests have not established a dangerous link between cell phones and fuel fumes.
And no incident was ever reported. However, you need to cooperate with the signs at gas stations.
Is it true that buying fuel in the morning on hot days will get you more bang for your buck?
Yes, the reason for this is that in cooler temperatures the fuel is denser, so you get more fuel per gallon into your car. However, fuel is stored in underground tanks at gas stations, so the density remains almost the same.
Is the hot weather on the road causing my tires to wear out more?
Yes, the rising temperatures combined with speed and heat build-up can come together to weaken the tires and cause worn damage or, in the worst case, a blowout.
Tires wear out faster in extreme heat or cold. Wet roads cool the tires and reduce the friction between the tread and the road, so that there is less wear compared to hot roads.
Can you actually boil an egg on a hood in hot temperatures?
When you touch your hood, you might think, “Wow, that’s hot enough to boil an egg.” The truth is, unless you have temperatures like California’s Death Valley, your egg won’t sizzle as you would expect it to.
Experiments with cars at temperatures of 35 degrees have shown that an egg does not solidify and harden like a fry should.
Your car would just end up in a sticky mess and the last yolk would be on you.