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High temps & cars: How to avoid heat-related breakdowns on the side of the road

Posted at 10:31 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 07:36:32-04

TULSA, Okla. — The rise in temperatures is leading to more cars breaking down on the road. AAA of Oklahoma reports a 20% spike in motorists needing assistance over the holiday weekend. The majority of the calls were heat related.

AAA of Oklahoma says heat-related problems skyrocket once the temperature goes up. They also say it’s not uncommon for the agency to take up to 1000 calls a day.

“The season change is always hard on vehicles both ways,” general manager for Robertson Tire, Gary Taylor said.

Whether it's a winter storm or a heat wave, Taylor says it’s important that your vehicle is prepared.

“It’s always a good idea to take it to a professional and have it checked out.”

Taylor says one of the biggest reasons cars break down in the heat is low coolant levels. Without enough coolant, the engine can overheat which can cause permanent damage and costly repairs.

“If that temperature gauge comes up for an extended period of time, it can blow a head gasket. It can crack a cylinder head and actually cause some serious internal damage to the engine.”

Taylor also encourages replacing old tires. Hot asphalt leads to more blowouts on the highway.

The heat, along with a busy travel weekend, amounted to a 20% spike in calls according to AAA Oklahoma. They responded to more than 3,500 calls over the holiday weekend.

“Most everything is impacted by this heat on your vehicle; whether it's the battery, the tires, or the electrical system,” spokesperson for AAA of Oklahoma Leslie Gamble said.

Gamble also says if you’re stuck on the side of the road, the safest thing to do is to stay inside of your car if you are able to use the Air Conditioning. If not, find shade as far away from the roadway until help arrives. Gamble also says, similar to the winter season, always have plenty of water and food inside of your car at all times.


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