Tips to protect your vehicles during this week’s heatwave

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – While cold temperatures are well-known to cause car issues, mechanics are reminding people to also protect their vehicles from the heat.

“AAA has had an abundant amount of calls for tires, batteries gone bad and overheating issues,” said Kyle Loftus, the Operations Manager at the AAA Car Care Center in Norfolk.

Loftus said temperatures as hot as those faced in Hampton Roads this week can cause a slew of automotive issues.

“One of the most important things that we can see and take care of is going to be our batteries,” he said.

If you haven’t replaced yours in three years, Loftus advises it’s time to get those batteries tested.

And while you’re at it, have your coolant system checked, too.

“The problem with not changing [the coolant system] out is, it starts depleting a lot of the protective additives that it has in there, and it does us no good. We start seeing radiator hoses go, bad water pumps.”

Heat also, of course, can impact your tires. Loftus said that 50 percent of all vehicles have at least one under-inflated tire.

“When the tire’s under-inflated, it doesn’t have the protection it needs with the extreme heat, and the concrete getting as hot as it is, we have a tendency to see a lot more blow outs at that time.”

Be sure to check your tire pressure and be aware of any alerts on your dashboard.

During the hot weather, pay special attention to your temperature gauge.

“We don’t ever want to see it going over halfway,” Loftus said. “Just ’cause it doesn’t get to the ‘H’ doesn’t mean your car’s not overheating. Any signs of it going over halfway is telling us that the engine is getting hotter, we need to pay attention and probably pull over, cut off the car.”

Should you find yourself in that unfortunate spot, it’s good to have a safety kit on hand.

Loftus recommends having jumper cables, flares, flashlights and bottles of water inside.

“Definitely want to make sure you’ve protected yourself.”

Another good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re replacing your wiper blades, so they’re in good condition during summertime thunderstorms.

In most conditions, blades need to be replaced every six months, Loftus said.