With the sweltering days of summer nearly here, AAA reminds motorists that high temperatures can take their toll on people, animals, and even cars. Extreme heat can push a vehicle past its limits, and once again this year some drivers will find themselves stranded at the roadside.

“While many drivers think about the importance of readying their vehicle for cold weather in winter, AAA actually receives more calls for help from members in the summer,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “A few preventive maintenance steps can help keep your vehicle running smoothly.”

#1  Heat can destroy the life of your battery.

– Vibration & heat are a battery’s two worst enemies. Make sure your battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration. Auto parts stores sell inexpensive “vibration dampeners” (rubber mat) that you place into the tray beneath your battery.

– Clean corrosive buildup (white sticky powder) from your battery terminals & clamps (wear a breathing protection and safety glasses).

– If a car’s battery is more than 2 years old, have it tested. Most auto parts store (Pep Boys, etc) will test it for free.

#2  Under Inflated tires create internal heat which can cause a blowout.

This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high. More than half the vehicles on the road were found to have at least one under-inflated tire. Learn to test the pressure and keep them inflated. Tire pressure should be checked when they have not been driven far (still cool inside). See the driver’s door jamb or glove box to see a label of recommended pressure.  Some vehicles use different pressures for the front and rear tires.  While checking the tire pressures—including the spare—drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

#3 Keep Your Engine Cool

You car’s cooling system works extra hard in the summer to protect the engine from overheating. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the chance of engine damage, and a summer time boil over.

Older coolants used to require changing every two years or 24,000 miles, but modern formulations are good for at least 5 years and 50,000 miles. See the owner’s manual or maintenance booklet.

Between flushes, check the overflow reservoir. If needed, top off the translucent reservoir with a 50/50 mix of water and coolant. CAUTION! – Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot – boiling coolant under pressure could cause serious burns.

Also. inspect hoses & drive belts for cracking, soft spots or other signs of poor condition. Worn parts are more prone to fail in hot conditions.

#4 Fluids. Fluids. Fluids

Check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.

#5 Remaining cool is safe and being safe is – cool.

– If a car’s air conditioning is not maintaining the interior temperature as well as it did in the past, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem. Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

– Most cars are equipped with a cabin filter that prevents outside debris from entering. Inspect and replace it as needed to ensure maximum airflow.

Pack an emergency kit – just in case.

  • water
  • non-perishable food items
  • jumper cables,
  • a flashlight with extra batteries (don’t drain your phone’s battery using it as a flashlight)
  • road flares or an emergency beacon
  • basic hand tools
  • a first aid kit