Hot weather causing big problems with cars

June 25, 2012 3:41:46 PM PDT
The hot weather is starting to cause big problems with cars. It's not hard to find broken down vehicles in the emergency lanes and mechanics say without some TLC, your car could be next.

We saw several cars in the emergency lanes Monday and others at gas stations with the hood up, going nowhere. If you do not want that to be your car, now is the time for some preventive maintenance.

Gene Baron is having a bad day. His SUV made it to a gas station, but is not going anywhere else right now,.

"My car broke. I don't know, I am really stressed out right now. I do not know what is wrong with my car," Baron said.

The reason Baron's car is broken are unclear, but mechanics say the hot weather is having a big impact on our cars.

"I had two trucks come in this morning with overheating," said mechanic Jay Wilson.

He told us if drivers want to stay on the road they should check their coolant levels before heading off to work in the morning.

"The coolant system is really low in the this car," Wilson said. "It should be right up to the top level and my finger should be able to touch it and there is, of course, nothing in there."

Another hot weather car casualty, the battery. One-hundred-degree days sap a batteries strength and can leave you stranded.

"I had Saturday three batteries and today two batteries already and it is early morning," Wilson said.

Most mechanics will load test a battery for you free of charge and let you know if the power is lacking. Wilson says if your car has a hard time starting, it a good sign the battery is going bad.

"Batteries used to give you some warning in that the car would crank over slower, and if it is doing that, you definitely need to get it checked. But with a lot of these modern batteries, with the material they make it out of, it will work one minute and then not the next, just like a light bulb," Wilson said.

Finally, record heat can be rough on your tires.

"Make sure you do not have dry rot cracks in the high heat. You will end up with blow outs and flat tires if your ties are not in good condition," said Wilson.

If you get your oil changed every 3,000 miles, your mechanic is very likely checking all these things for you,. But if you do not perform routine maintenance, the hot weather can cause a problem very quickly, and if you are not careful the repair could be very costly if your engine suffers major damage.

Newer cars only hold up better in the heat if you keep up on the routine maintenance. Even if your car is one year old, if you have not done regular maintenance, the fluid levels could fall far enough to leave you stranded when you are talking about 100-degree heat.

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