AAA is reminding motorists that extreme heat can take on people and their vehicles as the Kansas Auto Club responds to nearly 1,000 roadside assistance calls in three days
WICHITA, Kan. – With extremely high temperatures set to persist across Kansas in the last week of July, the National Weather Service is forecasting a dangerous heatwave to affect much of the United States. More than 100 million Americans are currently in areas with excessive heat warnings and advisories. ERS technician with member and disabled vehicle.jpg
“As temperatures continue to rise across the region, commuters and travelers need to be aware of the added stress that high temperatures place not only on the human body but also on vehicles,” said Shawn Steward, spokesman for AAA Kansas.
With the current heatwave in our area expected to continue into the middle of next week, AAA Kansas is reminding motorists to take some precautions to prepare their vehicles — and themselves — before hitting the road.
“Whether driving cross-country or across town, motorists need to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and up to date with maintenance,” said Jon Burgett, manager of Emergency Roadside Service Fleet Operations at AAA Kansas. “The effect that this type of weather can have on your car is cumulative.”
Tips for preventive vehicle maintenance in summer
Batteries – Heat kills batteries. Car batteries rarely give advance notice before they fail. Batteries that are three to five years old are the most likely to succumb to extreme temperatures.
Tires – Keep your tires at normal pressure. Driving with under-inflated tires can cause them to overheat and increase the likelihood of a burst. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure – not the pressure molded into the tire sidewall. The recommended tire pressure can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker, usually located on the driver’s door frame or inside the glove box.
Fluids – When the fluid level is low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids, including engine oil, transmission oil, power steering fluid, and brake fluid, to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.
Coolant – Drivers should check the coolant level in the overflow tank and top up if necessary. If the engine is cold, also check the level in the radiator. Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot, you can seriously burn yourself. Have the cooling system flushed and new coolant installed if recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Even with proper preventive maintenance, breakdowns can still happen in the summer. That’s why it’s important to have a “plan B” for vehicle breakdowns.
From Sunday, July 17 through Tuesday, July 19, AAA answered nearly 1,000 roadside assistance calls in Kansas alone, including 17% for battery problems, 14% for tire problems, and more than 500 calls (55% all calls) for towing due to engine failures and other problems.
AAA Kansas roadside assistance calls for the July 17-19 period this year increased 24% compared to the same data in 2021.
AAA offers these tips to keep drivers safe and vehicles running in the warm days ahead:
Prepare before hitting the road. During the summer months, drivers should carry an emergency kit, which includes a fully charged cell phone and charger, extra water and snacks, jumper cables and a flashlight. The driver should also have coolant with him. “Just as drivers stow an emergency kit in their cars during the winter months, so should they in the summer,” said the AAA Kansas steward. “In extreme temperatures like the ones we’re experiencing, an inconvenience can quickly escalate into an emergency if drivers aren’t prepared.”
Save your battery. When traffic is not flowing, do not use the accessory setting, listen to the radio, or use any other device that could drain the car battery.
Avoid overheating. Drivers should keep an eye on the control panel while the air conditioning is running. If the vehicle begins to overheat, turn it off immediately and open the hood to allow the engine to cool. The vehicle may need to be parked for at least 45 minutes.
Let the air flow. If you cannot operate the vehicle’s air conditioning system, open the windows on both sides of the vehicle for cross ventilation.
When parking, seek shade. Wear a windshield sunshade in your vehicle to provide some protection from the sun when your vehicle is parked.
Stay safe in stationary traffic. Staying in your vehicle is usually the safest option. However, if the heat gets too stifling and traffic shows no sign of movement, consider taking shelter in the shade. If there are shade trees or an overpass nearby, take a break and give your body time to cool down, but stay away from traffic.
To avoid vehicle problems, AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility, such as: B. to one of the more than 7,000 AAA-approved auto repair shops across North America to perform any necessary maintenance before they hit the road.
Battery change.jpg“While overall vehicle life has increased over the years, AAA research has shown that older vehicles are four times more likely than newer vehicles to encounter a problem severe enough to require towing to a repair shop required,” said AAA Burgett of Kansas.
At the first sign of a mechanical problem, drivers should attempt to safely pull their vehicle as far off the shoulder or road as possible and turn on their flashing hazard lights. Distracted drivers often ignore vulnerable roadside vehicles and the people inside.
High temperatures can not only cause devastating damage to your car, but also quickly claim lives. On a 95 degree day, a car can heat up to over 180 degrees. Nationwide, more than 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990 – that’s an average of 38 fatalities a year. Studies have shown that around 56% of child deaths from hot cars were caused by adults forgetting the children, and 26% of victims were playing in an unattended vehicle.
“In the summer heat, the interior of a vehicle can reach deadly temperatures very quickly. In fact, a car can heat up 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and become deadly, causing a child’s internal organs to shut down if left inside unattended,” said the AAA Kansas steward. To date, 11 children have died from heat stroke in cars in 2022, according to KidsandCars.org.