Monday, June 28, 2010

Hot Summer Days Can Cause Problems for Your Car

The Associated Press reported last week that motorists across Virginia are encountering dead batteries, broken hoses and other vehicle problems as the state experiences the summer’s first heat wave.

AAA Mid-Atlantic said last Thursday that it dispatched a total 2,694 rescues on Monday and Tuesday of last week. Service calls for dead batteries alone jumped by as much as 124 percent.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Martha Mitchell Meade says high heat is “a real car killer.“

Meade says motorists should make sure their vehicles can handle the heat. That includes checking coolant hoses and belts, and oil, air and fuel filters.

The auto club offers the following hot weather car maintenance checklist:
  • CHECK - Radiator and Coolant Recovery Tank
  • CHECK - Coolant-Hoses and Belts
  • CHECK - Tires
  • CHECK - Oil
  • CHECK - Battery
  • CHECK - Air and Fuel Filters

If motorist are not comfortable performing this inspection, a qualified auto service facility can conduct a thorough examination. The auto club especially recommends having your vehicle professionally checked by trained technicians before hitting the road for extended trips on hot days.

Because even properly maintained vehicles can break down, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges motorists to equip their vehicle with an emergency kit containing a minimum of the following items: Flashlight with extra batteries, warning devices, such as flares or reflective triangles, first aid kit, and a fully charged cellular phone to summon emergency assistance, and some extra bottles of water to fight dehydration.

AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips for area motorists traveling during the summer heat:
  • Take care in transporting older people or young children during the heat of the day, and never leave anyone in a parked car.
  • Slake the thirst. Children dehydrate much faster than adults. Carry water for children and older persons. Encourage your passengers to drink more than their thirst requires.
  • If a child is locked inside a vehicle, get him or her out as quickly as possible.
  • If the child is hot or appears sick, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • After returning home from shopping or a trip to the grocery store, always remove the child first before removing the groceries, items and shopping bags.
  • If your child is in day care, make sure the center and workers have a plan that safeguards children from being left alone on buses, vans or in cars.
  • If you spot a child locked in a car on a hot day, call 9-1-1 right away.
  • The same precautions are applicable for pets, which are also very vulnerable to the high heat of a car’s interior.
  • Share the word. Do not be afraid to tell parents or caregivers about the dangers when you see anyone leaving children (or pets) unattended in a vehicle.

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