Heat Wave Expected to Bring Wave of Breakdowns
AAA Urges August Road Trippers to Take a Trip to the Mechanic First
HARTFORD, CT (August 11, 2021) - The heat wave blanketing Connecticut has AAA preparing for a wave of Emergency Roadside calls, especially given the number of travelers taking advantage of the last weeks of summer. Extreme temperatures make cars more likely to overheat, put additional stress on car batteries and increase the risk for a blowout.
With that in mind, AAA is urging drivers to every precaution to avoid becoming stranded.
“In this heat, a breakdown is not just an inconvenience. It can literally put drivers and their passengers at risk, especially those traveling with children or seniors,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartfod. “It is critical that drivers make sure their vehicles are road ready and that they also have a fully charged cellphone on hand so they can call for help in the event of an emergency.”
Weather extremes stress batteries, and that stress is cumulative over time. So, with each passing day of a heat wave, AAA is more likely to see weather-related calls for battery service.
Battery Warning Signs
- The starter motor cranks the engine slowly.
- Battery/charging warning lamp illuminates on the dashboard.
- In older models, dim incandescent headlights, particularly when the car is idling, indicate a weak battery.
AAA recommends drivers get their batteries, tires and fluids checked by a trusted mechanic, before hitting the road. AAA Car Care, Travel and Insurance Center in Southington (755 Queen Street) or any AAA Approved Auto Repair shop will offer this service for FREE.
In addition to car care in advance of travel, AAA is reminding ALL drivers to make sure they have a fully stocked summer emergency kit (see below) and a fully charged cellphone so they can call for help should they need it and stay safe and comfortable while waiting for help to arrive.
AAA offers these TIPS to avoid heat-related car troubles:
- Test your battery and, if necessary, replace it BEFORE it dies
Most batteries last 3-5 years and each day of extreme weather pushes a battery closer to its end.
AAA members can request a AAA Roadside Service technician to come to them and test their battery free of charge. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it on location. For more information on the AAA Mobile Battery Service visit AAA.com/Battery.
- Make Sure Tires Are Properly Inflated
Driving on under-inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.
Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer – not the number molded into the tire sidewall.
Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb or the inside of the glove compartment door. 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.
- Check all fluids
When fluid levels are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should 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.
- Stock a Summer Emergency Kit
Even with proper preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so AAA recommends every driver have a fully charged cellphone on hand so they can call for help when needed and also keep a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle to ensure everyone’s safety while they’re waiting for help to arrive.
AAA says the Emergency Kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.