As we face another week of extreme heat warnings, your Neighborhood auto Professional Repairprofessionals (NARPRO) share the most common heat-related vehicle problems and ways drivers can avoid the heat breakdowns.
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• Heat evaporates battery fluids, which can accelerate corrosion.
• Batteries in Arizona do not last as long as cooler climates. If your battery is more than two years old, have it tested.
• If it’s a bit warm, it could be low coolant, a loose drive belt, clogged valves or filters, or clogs in the condenser.
• Neglecting minor problems like a leaky pipe can lead to early compressor failure, which can cost $1,000 to fix.
• Underinflated tires create excessive heat and stress which can lead to a flat tire.
• According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, 85% of drivers don’t know how to properly inflate their tires.
• For the most accurate pressure reading, check the tires when they have been driven less than one mile.
• Regularly inspect the tread and sidewalls for uneven tread, wear, cracks or other damage. Even minor damage can lead to eventual tire failure.
• The minimum acceptable tread depth is 3/32 of an inch, or about the distance from the edge of a dime to the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, but you don’t want to strain to reach the minimum during a summer in Arizona.
• Like humans, fluids are essential for cars. Not only do fluids lubricate parts, they also conduct heat away from important parts. Extreme heat will cause evaporation and potentially reduce the cooling effect, which can cause your car to overheat.
• Make sure engine oil, coolant/antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are full. If you want to replace fluids on your own, be sure to check your owner’s manual to use the correct type for your vehicle.
Blades, belts and pipes
• If you don’t remember when you last changed the wiper blades, do it now. You don’t want to find out that they are cracked and deformed during the monsoon season.
• Like wiper blades, heat can create problems on other rubber parts like belts and hoses. Check for signs of wear and cracking and if you see anything questionable, have it repaired.
• When temperatures are at their peak, so are calls for roadside service. Having a fully charged cell phone is not enough if you are stuck waiting for hours.
• Carry water, jumper cables, flashlight, first aid kit, reflective warning triangles and an umbrella for shade if you need to get out of your vehicle.
• Never let your gas tank drop below a quarter. If you’re traveling to remote areas, it’s a good idea to keep the tank half full. If you get stuck, you want to be able to keep the AC running until help arrives.
NARPRO (Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals): Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) helps car owners find knowledgeable and honest auto repair shops. NARPRO only recommends independent, family-owned, full-service auto repair shops that have passed 26 rigorous tests. Visit www.NARPRO.com to find recommended stores near work or home. NARPRO is the easiest way to find an honest mechanic in the valley.