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How to avoid car trouble amid extreme Las Vegas heat

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jun 17, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — With such extreme heat in Las Vegas, touching the steering wheel of a car can feel like your hands are burning, which is exactly what can happen to the outside of the vehicle.

Several vehicle fires have been reported by authorities in the last few days, including three on Thursday afternoon alone.

RELATED: Excessive Heat Warning extended through Sunday for Southern Nevada

While the causes of the fires may vary, Tony Illia with the Nevada Department of Transportation says the last thing anyone wants is to be broken down on the side of the road right now.

“Stalling out is common, especially when the heat finds fast 110° -- hitting 115° here -- we see this happen routinely during the peak summer months,“ said Illia.

RELATED: Las Vegas breaks another daily heat record Thursday

Sergio Avila with AAA in Nevada says a simple routine vehicle check before hitting the road, including checking your tire pressure, could make all the difference.

“Your tires are going to be one of those that takes a lot of the heat, literally, your engine as well and your batteries also,“ said Avila of the most common problems in cars related to heat.

RELATED: Death Valley few degrees shy of breaking 1913 record for hottest temperature on Earth

Maintenance is especially important if you haven't been taking care of your car during the pandemic, he says.

The following is a list from NDOT of important things to check to avoid having issues with your car during the summer heat.

Check Fluids

Save yourself some hot weather hassle by monitoring your car’s fluids, including coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power-steering fluid and windshield wiper fluid

Inspect Belts and Hoses

Examine the belts and hoses in your vehicle. Intense heat can cause cracking, blistering, and other damage to your belts and hoses, resulting in necessary replacement.

Replace Battery

An old battery in the extreme summer heat can spell trouble. To avoid expensive repairs, it’s worth having your car’s battery tested, or even replaced–getting a new battery altogether. It costs less than having a dead battery serviced during a breakdown.

Tire Pressure

Regularly check your tire pressure at the gas station or at home if you own a tire pressure gauge. Tires expand when exposed to heat. And keeping them inflated at the proper pressure will ensure that your vehicle doesn’t suffer from any issues.

Emergency Kit

An emergency vehicle kit is something that you should keep in your car year-round. It should be stored somewhere safe and accessible, and include jumper cables, a flashlight, road flares, water nonperishable food items, and a first aid kit

Keep Your Car’s Interior Cool

The right amount of engine coolant is essential, especially on extremely hot summer days. Also, having a vehicle interior that is cool enough to drive is important too. Before the heat hits too hard, make sure your air conditioning system is running properly. If your vehicle has a cabin air filter, have it inspected and replaced, if necessary, to get the most out of your cooling system.

Take Highways Instead of Side Streets

Highways are typically better maintained than regular streets and are better equipped to handle extreme heat. Just remember the importance of maintaining your tires—the last thing you want is a tire blowout on the highway.