17:00 PM

Is Your Car Ready for the Summer Heat?

Tips to address common heat-related vehicle issues

Heat advisories are being issued in various parts of the country as AAA prepares for an increase in calls for car trouble. Contrary to national reports, AAA has not seen a meaningful increase in the number of calls from drivers running out of gas in Minnesota or Iowa. However, as the mercury rises, so does the risk for dead batteries, blown tires and faulty air conditioners.

"Extreme heat is a key contributor to the many calls AAA receives from stranded motorists this time of year," said Scott VerBracken, Vice President of Automotive Services, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Two of the most common problems drivers will face are flat tires and dead batteries. Yet these situations could potentially be avoided if drivers get their vehicle inspected at a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility."

Drivers can find a nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility by visiting AAA.com/AutoRepair. At these locations, AAA Members receive:

  • A free multi-point vehicle inspection upon request and written recommendation of maintenance or repairs ($50 value).
  • 10% discount on labor (save up to $50) on regularly priced services.

Tips to avoid heat-related car troubles:

Get your battery tested and, if necessary, replace it before it dies. Most batteries last 3-5 years. Each day of extreme weather pushes a battery closer to its end. Slow "stutter" starts are often signs that a battery is weakening. Should the battery need replacement, a AAA Roadside Service technician can usually replace it on location.

Ensure tires are properly inflated. Driving on under-inflated tires reduces fuel economy and causes overheating, increasing the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.

Check tire pressure once a month and before extended road trips. Inflate tires to manufacturer specifications, which are listed on the decal, normally located on the driver's doorjamb. Also, inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate inflation, suspension or alignment problems.

Check all fluids. When fluids are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner's manual.

Keep your cool. In addition to being patient behind the wheel, a properly working air conditioner will help reduce fatigue and increase driver alertness for vehicle safety. Faulty air conditioners should be checked by a certified technician.

Be Prepared in Case Your Vehicle Breaks Down

Keep a well-stocked emergency kit in the vehicle. The kit should include a cellphone charger, water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools and a first-aid kit.

Have a roadside rescue plan. Check to make sure your AAA membership is active and suitable for the distance you plan to travel. Members can request roadside assistance on the free AAA mobile app.