Notice more stalled vehicles on the road? There's a reason

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If you feel like you've seen more stalled vehicles on the road, it's not your imagination. When Houston heats up, cars break down (KTRK)

If you feel like you've seen more stalled vehicles on the road lately, it's not your imagination. When Houston heats up, often cars break down.

"Summer conditions can take a toll on a vehicle. Most vehicles are stalled - some can pull over, some are stuck on a main lane. That backs up traffic and causes a dangerous situation for a lot of folks out there," says Danny Perez, Public Information Officer with TxDOT.

So car maintenance is crucial, especially this time of year.

"So many things can malfunction in the heat," explains Xpress Body Werks General Manager and Mechanic Jimmy Martinez.

He explains the first item likely to overheat is the radiator, which can cause sever damage to the engine. So make sure to get a radiator flush.

"A radiator flush is to keep the coolant in the system fresh and new," adds Martinez.

A flush usually costs around $80 and how often it's done depends on driving habits and quality of anti-freeze used.

Next, "It's Houston, TX. You have to have your AC functioning properly," says Martinez.

So if your car doesn't feel cool, it could be your compressor, and it isn't cheap to replace. It could cost several hundred dollars.

Next, have a mechanic check your drive belts every other oil change, but especially in the summer because they often dry out and crack in the heat.

"They're connected to the crank shaft pulley, which runs the compressor for your AC, the water pump for your cooling system, and the alternator for your charging system," says Martinez. "To replace drive belts, it should be about $75 to $125, depending on the make and model."

Finally, make sure your tires are properly filled, and when you change your oil, choose a thicker weight in the summer to provide less friction among the engine components.

If you do find yourself stranded on the freeway, the city of Houston has a SAFEclear program that starts at $50.

Also, the Harris County Toll Road Authority has the Incident Management Program for stalled vehicles during certain hours of the day. It's complimentary, and part of their program includes providing one gallon of gas for vehicles without fuel, changing flat tires, jumping batteries, and even towing.
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