Hot weather tough on cars too

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by By DEBORAH FELDMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 18 at 11:41 AM

Video: Hot temperatures tough on cars too

SEATTLE - With scorching temperatures expected to be here for a while, drivers are being urged to remember heat like this isn't just hard on humans, it can be tough on your vehicle as well.

Dave Armstrong is the fleet manager at AAA in Seattle.

"We kind of use the 80-degree mark. Anything above 80-degrees we start seeing an increase in emergency road service calls," he says.

Armstrong says the calls generally spike 25-30% with the higher temperatures, since the heat brings out the worst in cars and trucks.

Armstrong explains that if your car has a structural weakness, hot temperatures will push it over the edge. Under the hood, trouble spots include batteries, belts and hoses. He says tires with uneven treads, or that have too much or too little air are at risk as well. He says the best defense is a good offense.

"Well, it is true what mechanics say," Armstrong says. "Pay me now or pay me later. I would recommend if someone has not had maintenance done on their car for a while, go by your mechanic, hopefully you have a trusted mechanic, ask them to pop the hood on your car, and do that 60 second check."

It's important to remember that problems are not just limited to the times when your car is running. Temperatures absolutely skyrocket inside parked cars - often hitting numbers like 120 degrees in a half hour. That means on hot days, it is never safe to leave pets or people inside a sealed vehicle for any amount of time.

The Washington State Patrol urges drivers to hit the roads prepared by bringing along extra oil and coolant, not to mention cell phones and water.

"If you need to pull over, take the next exit, pull over to the side of the road if your gauge is getting to the red zone. Don't stop in the road. Do the best you can to get to the shoulder," said Trooper Dan McDonald.

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