Car tips for Tulsa’s summer heat

With temperatures across Oklahoma expected to flirt with 100 degrees, AAA is reminding drivers that the risk of engines overheating, older batteries failing and tire troubles grows with each day of the extreme weather.

“The effect this kind of weather can have on your car is cumulative so we’ll be fielding lots of calls” says Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.

AAA Oklahoma has responded to more than 1,000 roadside assistance calls recently. Those calls included overheated engines, tire blowouts, dead batteries and tows. To avoid a breakdown in this heat, AAA offers these reminders:

  1. Test your battery and, if necessary, replace it before it dies.

Most batteries last three to five years and each day of extreme weather pushes a battery closer to its end.

2. 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, if there is one – drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

  1. 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 appropriate levels.

If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.

  1. Stock a Summer Emergency Road 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, including water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, a first aid kit and a cell phone with phone charger cord.

While many of the maintenance tasks to prepare a car for extreme summer heat are relatively simple and can be performed by the average driver, some are best left to a trained automotive technician.