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Watch for overheating during this summer’s first heat wave.

Watch for overheating during this summer's first heat wave.

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Motorist Calls for Help Expected to Spike During Heat Wave

As this summer’s first heat wave pushes temperatures into the upper 90s and vehicles beyond their normal operating limits, AAA has warned motorists to heed signs of trouble—especially overheating.

Last summer, AAA rescued seven million drivers nationwide. AAA Mid-Atlantic responded to emergency rescue calls from more than a 1.1 million motorists, in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia during the summer months of 2017. The auto club responded to 561,337 drivers in Virginia, 495,551 motorists in Maryland and 67,937 in Washington.

“Keep an eye on the temperature gauges. Extreme temperatures can easily push a vehicle beyond its limits, and excessive heat shortens the longevity of auto batteries,” said James Moore, manager of a AAA Car Care Center in Falls Church. “Unfortunately, many area motorists and their vehicles are not ready for the challenges, nor are they prepared for the risks posed by high heat and humidity, or when it is too hot for too long.”

“Automobile engines work extra hard in the summer or summer-like heat waves, and it is the cooling system’s job to protect the engine from overheating,” added Bruce Jenkins, a manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic Roadside Assistance. “When that fails to happen, you end up stranded on the roadside or stalled by the wayside. In this heat, the engine cooling system can fail without warning.”

Heat impacts fans, belts, hoses, radiators, coolant systems, engine components and vehicle batteries, the latter which can lose its charge 33 percent faster than the cold of winter, said AAA Mid-Atlantic Roadside Assistance. Extreme heat can quicken the corrosion of a car’s battery. If your car battery is more than three years old, you are driving on borrowed time. More vehicle batteries fail in July than in January, according to AAA.

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