July 28, 2006

BCAA advises drivers to prepare their cars for hot weather

Burnaby, British Columbia – The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) reports an increase in road assist calls from motorists whose cars aren’t properly prepped for hot summer temperatures. The association says it receives the same volume of calls on hot days as it does on the coldest days of winter, with most related to battery or mechanical problems as a result of extreme temperatures.

“It’s a good idea to look after your vehicle all year long, but preparing for summer’s heat is critical, especially considering all the driving we tend to do at this time of year,” says Ken Cousin, director of BCAA Road Assist. “A simple mechanical inspection and safety check before heading out on vacation can save you from sweating it out on the roadside. This is especially important for recreational vehicles which may have been sitting for long periods.”

BCAA offers the following tips to prepare for hot-weather driving:

  • Ensure tires are properly inflated. According to the Rubber Association of Canada, air pressure goes up one to two pounds for every five degrees C of temperature change. Tire pressures may need to be increased to accommodate heavier loads.
  • Check fluid levels, including engine oil, brake, power steering, automatic transmission, coolant and windshield washer reservoir. If you decide to change your oil or coolant, you can locate facilities for recycling the old fluid by calling 604-732-9253 in Greater Vancouver, or 1-800-667-4321 elsewhere.
  • Make sure cooling fans and hoses are in good working order. Hoses and belts are usually good for about four to six years of normal driving; look for cracks or signs of deterioration.
  • Make sure your engine temperature stays within the proper range. Good airflow through the radiator is important to keep the engine cool. If you’re headed for “big-bug” country, a screen attached to the grille or air intake is a good idea.
  • Maintain good visibility. Check the condition of lights and wiper blades, and make sure you have plenty of washer fluid. Dry weather attracts dust and bugs to your windshield, which you’ll need to clean regularly.

  • If you require assistance, pull off the road and switch on your vehicle’s four-way flashers. If broken down in an unsafe location, get out of your vehicle and be wary of your own and your passengers’ surroundings. If you have emergency roadside assistance, try and assess your vehicle’s operating problem before calling your provider.

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