Phoenix, Arizona is the hottest major city in the United States. There are several cities that are larger, and a few towns that are hotter, but over four million people live in and around the Arizona capital, which sees at the minimum 100 days of 100+ degree weather. From the end of October by the beginning of February, temperatures are mild. While the beginning of January can be cool, snow only falls about once every ten years in the suburbs, and never in the downtown area. Because the area is desert, the air is very dry for much of the year. Except for monsoons in July and August, the humidity is around 30% or lower.
Because of the dry heat, Phoenix presents rare issues to many automobile owners. Air conditioning is virtually required. While it is possible to survive the summer without it, by rolling down windows, for several months it will be uncomfortable, and in July and August driving will be almost extremely. Often, already air conditioning that does work does not cool the car enough on short trips or low-speed trips.
Mechanically, the summer heat takes a toll on the car itself. The aforementioned air conditioning is powered by a belt from the engine. Heat breaks down belts and other rubber elements. Often this results in a loud screech when accelerating or turning on the air conditioning. It’s often necessary to tighten or replace belts in summer. Always carry a spare serpentine belt.
Batteries are one of the most shared issues in Phoenix heat. Car batteries function best in a temperate ecosystem, and high, continued heat will drain them. When living in Phoenix, it’s important to plan for a battery to only last a year or two, and to carry jumper cables.
Phoenix is a very low density city. The metro area sprawls over 900 square miles, much of which can be accessed only by roads. Driving from Peoria in the northwest to Mesa, Gilbert or Apache Junction in the southeast will take more than an hour on high-speed freeways. The high amount of driving method that a reliable, economical car is important. Volvo, Toyota and Honda generally top the list, since they have these qualities. The popularity of these cars method that Phoenix, especially near the downtown areas has shops that service only one make of car. For example a good Phoenix Volvo shop might only be based there and maintenance no other types of vehicles. Also, such shops are ideal because for the Swedish-made Volvo Phoenix offers a rare set of challenges. A locally owned and operated shop will be able to provide advice specific to dry, hot, dusty conditions.