Hello summer, hello heat, hello car troubles

    submitted by AAA Mid-Atlantic

    The season’s first heat wave, spanning five days including the Independence Day holiday, saw temperatures and calls to AAA Mid-Atlantic soar. 

    AAA Mid-Atlantic roadside assistance crews responded to more than 5,500 member calls for assistance in the Philadelphia five-county area. 

    Of those calls for roadside assistance, more than 40% were for dead car batteries and flat tires that had succumbed to the extreme heat. 

    AAA urges motorists to have their car batteries and tires checked ahead of what is expected to be the third heat wave of the season this coming weekend.

    “The effect this kind of weather can have on your car is cumulative,” says Jana L. Tidwell, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “While many vehicles may have survived the first heat wave of the season, motorists may not be so lucky as the summer rolls on.  AAA urges motorists to have car batteries and tires checked to ensure safety and prevent unexpected breakdowns.”

    Of the more than 5,500 roadside assistance calls to AAA Mid-Atlantic in the Philadelphia five-county area from July 2nd through July 6th, more than 1,500 calls (28%) were for dead batteries and more than 800 calls (15%) were for flat tires.

    In addition, AAA roadside assistance calls for dead car batteries on July 6th set a one-day mark not seen in more than five months (January 21st, 2020).

    Extreme heat exacts a toll on vehicles, especially over an extended period of time. 

    AAA recommends motorists make sure their vehicles are prepared for the summer months.

    Here are some common heat-related car problems, and what motorists can do to help prevent them:

    • Batteries – Heat kills batteries. Make sure you have a strong battery that is up to the challenge by having your battery tested.
    • Tires – Keep your tires at normal pressure. Soft tires generate heat, which can lead to a blowout.
    • Fluids – Check all fluids including the coolant level in the overflow tank and top off as needed. If the engine is cool, check the level in the radiator as well. Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot, you can be seriously scalded.
    • Coolant – Motorists should have the cooling system flushed and new coolant installed when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Depending on the type of coolant used, this is typically necessary every two to five years.

    AAA Mid-Atlantic offers free car battery and tire pressure checks to ensure motorists’ vehicles are road ready for the remainder of summer. 

    While advanced appointments are preferred, walk-ins will be accepted based on availability.

    As the summer travel season continues, albeit different that typical summers past in light of COVID-19, AAA Mid-Atlantic also reminds motorists to make sure their vehicle is stocked with an emergency road kit.

    “Two out of five drivers forget to pack an emergency kit in the vehicle. It makes a lot of sense, but a AAA survey showed that more than 40% of motorists do not have one at their disposal,” said Tidwell. “No one ever plans to get stuck on the road. For safety’s sake, every driver should have a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a cell phone and car charger; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors. In addition, face masks, rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes should be kept in the vehicle to for protection and good hygiene while traveling in the age of COVID-19.”

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