AUSTIN (KXAN) — Before you hit the road on a summer getaway, make a stop to check your car battery. The heat is incredibly hard on your vehicle battery, and AAA said it’s also the season it sees an uptick in tire blowouts.
KXAN Traffic Anchor Erica Brennes sat down with an AAA representative and has some advice before your next road trip. Below is a portion of their conversation.
Checking your car battery
Erica: “Joining me today is Daniel Armbruster with AAA. Daniel, let’s talk about this heat. It is so brutal, and the toll it can take on our cars, specifically, our batteries, which is such a bummer when you get in your car, and it won’t start because you have a dead battery.”
Daniel: “Batteries when it comes to heat, heat and vibration are batteries’ worst enemy. And dead batteries are one of the top roadside calls that AAA sees during the summer. So this excessive heat that we’re seeing really has the potential to drain your battery and cause a lot of issues internally, and of course, shorten the life of your battery. So you know, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see for the month of June and July, another uptick in battery service calls and replacements.”
Erica: “How will we stay on top of this before we are surprised and left on the side of the road or in a parking lot somewhere? Can you check your battery? Are there signs that there are issues? What can we do to stay on top of it?”
Daniel: “The best thing you can do is if your battery is over three years old, you want to have a trusted mechanic take a look at it. AAA actually has a free community program called approved auto repair where you can find local mechanics that have been inspected by AAA. And you can just go to aaa.com to do that …. A lot of people will be taking road trips over the next few weeks. So you want to think about if your battery is over three years old, having that trusted mechanic check the life of the battery. Most batteries don’t make it beyond three years, and with the excessive heat, if your battery is near around three years old, you definitely want to make sure that you have that checked. But also you can just pop the hood open. Check for corrosion around your battery, because what happens is, the excessive heat that we see in the summer can cause evaporation of battery fluid. And it can also cause corrosion on the battery terminals, which will shorten the life of the battery …. If there is corrosion, of course, you want to make sure that you remove that from the battery.”
‘Blowout season’ for tires
Erica: “Are there any other mechanical risks with this heat when it comes to our cars that we should be monitoring this summer?”
Daniel: “Well, a few other things, especially your tires. I mean, healthy tires are so important for many reasons. But what happens when we see excessive heat, the highway pavement is very hot. In some areas, it can even get up to 150 degrees on the surface, if the sun is beating down on it. But when you’re driving on that hot surface, if you have underinflated tires, you’re creating extra friction, which creates even more heat, and it can lead to a blowout …. We’re in what we call ‘blowout season.’ This is when we see an increase in the number of blowouts — heat being the main culprit. And so it’s not unusual in the summertime to see an increase in drivers who experienced blowouts. But with the heat being as hot as it is this year and as early as it is, you know we’re seeing this already happening in some areas earlier than usual.”