Heat and cars: 'Two of the worst days we have for battery failures in the year'

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EUGENE, Ore. -- Hot temperatures are affecting more than just people; they're taking a toll on vehicles too.

In fact, AAA said they expect a spike in drivers needing assistance in the extreme heat. They say they'll rescue more than 102,000 drivers in Oregon between Memorial Day and Labor Day for car troubles.

The company gets calls from stranded drivers for car lockouts, flat tires, and dead batteries. But they say heat like we're seeing now kills more car batteries than the cold temperatures do in the winter.

The experts at Les Schwab Tire Center are sharing a few things drivers should know about cars in the heat.

"Heat is an enemy of tires." They said before you hit the road it's a good idea to stop by and have the inflation in your tires checked.

Les Schwab Tire Center area manager Steve Smith said triple-digit temperatures cause tire pressure to rise.

For customer Michael Duval, he said he knows the consequence from when his front tire popped last week on his way from Roseburg.

"I was just driving and then the front tire blew out, so I had to pull into Les Schwab up there,” said Duval.

Smith also said heat affects more than just car tires. In fact, he said, “two of the worst days we have for battery failures in the year are the hottest days and the coldest day.”

Smith showed us that the heat will cause the water in a car battery to boil which makes the battery react like it’s constantly charging. Most batteries have a 3-to-6 year life span, but they drain quickly when temperatures turn up.

New driver Meghan Rydr said she’s concerned that her tire could blow out because of the heat, so she took her car to Les Schwab. "I just don't want to have any issues," she said.

Smith said the main thing for drivers is to "slow down and enjoy the day; have a nice relaxing drive and don't be in a hurry."

Smith also said it's good to look at the temperature gauges, warning lights, and especially your brake system because those could be affected by these hot times as well.

AAA also advises people to make sure to have fluid levels checked and to be prepared with an emergency kit if you do get stranded. That means having a phone charger, first aid kit, and a basic tool kit with you just in case.

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