You protect yourself, your family and your pets from the heat. Your car needs some TLC, too. Failing to spend a few dollars on proper maintenance could lead to thousands of dollars in repairs.

With a heat wave coming to Western Washington and the entire West Coast, here are some things you need to know to keep your car in good condition.

Oil changes should be done about every 3,000 miles.

If you have an oil leak onto an exhaust manifold, it gets up to 800, 900 degrees, it could produce an engine fire very fast, said mechanic Patrick Mowery.

Anything related to your cooling system should also be checked.

Right now we're doing a lot of radiators, a lot of coolant fuses, water pumps, hoses ... radiator hoses and batteries themselves, said Mowery.

Mowery also says you should pop the hood and check your battery for acid leaks.

Summer can tear up your tires, so check the tread. A simple test from mechanics is to take a penny and put it between the treads. Make sure the treads touch the top of Abe Lincoln s head.

Road heat plus improper inflation could equal disaster.

If you're above the recommended pressure, you're at risk of it popping. If it's under pressure, you're at risk of poor gas mileage, said Mowery. On the inside of the driver door, it'll tell you the tire pressure. Always go with what the inside of the door says not the tire. If it says 30 PSI in the door, use 30 PSI per tire.

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