Car Won’t Start, Summer Heat, Car Battery, StarterNothing ruins a day at the beach like being stranded in the parking lot with a car that won’t start. Why does that happen? Well, there may be several reasons and they are often interconnected. Even something simple, like a dead battery, may actually be more complicated than you think. The summer heat may contribute to why your car won’t start, but is it why the car battery died or is something more complicated like a faulty starter or alternator to blame?


Main Reasons Your Car Won’t Start

Experts agree, driving in extremely hot temperatures puts extra strain on your car’s components. Everything from your tires up experience extra wear and stress from the hot summer sun. Let’s look at why that is and what we can do about it.

Higher Temperatures

As the summer continues to warm up, that extra heat affects our cars in numerous ways. Higher temperatures make your vehicle’s fluids evaporate faster. Corrosion and wear can happen more rapidly in hot weather and hot driving conditions. The sun heats up the road surface, which radiates up. The sun also heats the surface of your car, which raises the temperature under the hood as well as inside the interior. These higher temperatures require a bit more diligence on our part to keep our vehicles in good running condition all summer long.

Mechanical Issues

Higher temperatures can even cause mechanical issues, which can result in having a car that won’t start when it is hot outside. Here are a few likely culprits.

Car Battery

A car battery works best at about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. When the outside air is in the triple digits, your battery may not be operating at its best. The fluid inside the battery can evaporate, causing a reduction in electrical output. If there’s not enough output, your car won’t start. Some batteries can be opened and refilled with distilled water. Some batteries are sealed and will need to be replaced when the fluid levels become too low. The average lifespan of a car battery is 3-5 years.

Battery Cables

Dirty cables and terminals can also impede the power that your battery provides. Keep them clean and free of corrosion by carefully scrubbing with a solution of baking soda & water, and a wire brush.


The starter is a small motor that is powered by the battery. Its job is to start the engine when you turn the key. If it is not working properly, you may hear nothing but clicking when you turn the key. Your starter will also not work if your battery is dead. You may be able to jump start your car to get it moving in a pinch, but a faulty starter needs to be fixed asap.

Alternator & Voltage Regulator

The alternator uses the car’s engine to charge the battery, as well as supply electricity to various electrical systems. When the alternator or the voltage regulator inside it doesn’t work properly, it can deliver too much charge to the battery. Overcharging a car battery can damage it, resulting in a car that won’t start. If you notice the interior lights flicker or get dim when starting your car, have the alternator checked out.

What Can I Do?

Since we have not yet found a way to control the weather, what can we do to keep our car running all summer? The best way is to continue to do the routine maintenance as recommended by your owner’s manual. Don’t delay or put it off. Seriously, routine maintenance reduces the need for more expensive repairs because it often catches worn components before they break and cause more damage. Besides that, here’s a few more things that can help:

  • Park in the shade whenever possible
  • Use a light colored car cover if you have to park in the sun
  • Keep your interior cooler with window tint, shades, or reflectors
  • Try to run errands in the cooler morning and evening hours

If you notice any signs that your car may need a more comprehensive service or diagnostic appointment, then get it in to a qualified service center.

Take Your Car To An Expert

Wentworth Automotive is a full-service preventive maintenance and auto repairs center in the San Diego, CA 92111 area. Our experts have the knowledge to service and repair even the most challenging auto problems, on all makes and models of domestic and import vehicles. We use the latest technology and trained technicians. We guarantee all of our work and know you’ll be happy with the outcome.

Schedule a Diagnostic Service

Call us at (858) 541-1044 or visit us online to schedule an appointment today! 

Wentworth Automotive

7755 Othello Ave

San Diego, CA 92111