Tips for drivers during extreme heat wave - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Tips for drivers during extreme heat wave

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A bill signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey might effect those who have a "need for speed." A bill signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey might effect those who have a "need for speed."

As Arizonans brace themselves for this week's possible record level temperatures, AAA is urging motorists to prepare their vehicles for the heat wave.

 AAA projects that it will respond to more than 169,000 calls for roadside assistance in Arizona this summer (June 21 - Sept. 23). The most common calls for service will come from drivers facing issues with batteries, tires and lockouts.

"In the desert, having a disabled vehicle can be more than just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous, especially for children or seniors," said Michelle Donati, communications manager for AAA Arizona.  

AAA recommends drivers address five key areas to help their vehicle safely survive Arizona's summer temperatures: 

1. Secure and Clean Auto Batteries Heat and vibration are a battery's two worst enemies leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While drivers cannot do much about the heat, they can make sure their battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration.  Another potential summer problem is faster evaporation of the battery fluid, leading to corrosion on terminals and connections. Clean any corrosive build-up from the battery terminals and cable clamps, and ensure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move.  

2. Make Sure Your Engine Keeps its Cool It's the cooling system's job to protect the engine from overheating. In addition, additives in the coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the odds of long-term engine damage increase.  Rubber cooling system components also are susceptible to deterioration caused by extreme heat. Inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking and soft spots. Worn parts are more susceptible to failure in hot conditions and should be replaced.  

3. Minimize Blowout Risk Driving on underinflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.  Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer - not the number molded into the tire sidewall.  

4. Stay Hydrated Engine fluids are essential to keeping a vehicle running smoothly. Most fluids lubricate and serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components. When fluid levels are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Check all fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to appropriate levels.  

5. Keep the Cold Air Coming During extreme summer heat, a properly operating air conditioning system can be more than just a pleasant convenience. If a car's air conditioning is not maintaining the interior temperature as well as it did in the past, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem. Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

Even with proper preventive maintenance, breakdowns can still occur, so AAA recommends every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle. The kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries and basic repair tools.

 AAA offers a variety of automotive resources, including AAA Owned and Operated Auto Repair shops and AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. For more information, visit az.aaa.com/automotive/auto-care 

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