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AAA: Vehicle break downs increase in extreme heat

AAA said high heat can cause car parts to fail which could leave motorists stranded.

When temperatures soar, the threat to vehicles increases, according to AAA Tidewater Virginia.

Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia, said high heat can cause car parts to fail, which will leave motorists stranded. AAA recommends motorists take preventative measures during the summer months.

"With each day of high heat, the number of calls to AAA for emergency roadside assistance increases dramatically. Requests for AAA motorist assistance can increase to almost 15%, averaging 630 calls per day when the thermometer rises 10-15 degrees,” Blumling said.

AAA gives the following tips for motorists traveling in the heat:

  • Run errands during early morning and evening hours and try to carpool whenever possible.
  • Do not run your car’s air conditioning system in continuous stop-and-go traffic conditions. Roll down the windows and give it a break periodically.
  • Leave extra space between your car and the vehicle in front of you, so that your engine is not drawing in hot exhaust.
  • Keep an eye on your car’s temperature gauge. If the gauge starts to reach the ‘hot’ mark, turn the air conditioner off, roll down the windows and run the heater at full blast until the gauge returns to the ‘cool’ end.
  • Heat kills batteries. Make sure you have a strong battery that is up to the challenge by having your battery tested. If your car’s battery needs a jump-start, have the battery recharged to full power as soon as possible, or have a power output tester applied to the battery to determine if it needs replacing.
  • Check your oil to make sure its level is at the ‘full’ mark. Oil serves as both a lubricant and as a coolant for your car’s engine.
  • Check your car’s coolant levels before leaving home. When adding coolant to your car’s radiator, supply a 50-50 mix of water and anti-freeze.
  • Make sure your tires are in good condition. Hot pavement can test tires that are under-inflated or on the edge of wearing thin.
  • Keep a fully-charged cell phone with you in case of an emergency, but don’t leave it in your car, especially during the hottest part of the day. The heat will cause the phone’s battery to lose power. Also, remember to remove all electronics which can be damaged due to heat including laptops.

AAA Tidewater Virginia also encourages drivers to have an emergency kit in their vehicle. It's suggested the kit contains a minimum of a flashlight with extra batteries, warning devices, such as flares or reflective triangles, first aid kit, a fully charged cellular phone to summon emergency assistance, and some extra bottles of water to fight dehydration.