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Emergency road service, summer temps can damage vehicles

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Spend some time in the heat out there, and you'll quickly find out what it's like to be stranded on the road.

The summer sun can cause a variety of automotive issues with your tires and battery.

So it's always best to get your vehicle ready now before it breaks down.

"You definitely get dry rotted tires, you get a lot of blowouts," said James Volmer with AAA.

We rode along with James Volmer from AAA Thursday afternoon. He and other road service drivers have plenty to do once the temperatures reach triple digits.

"Cars overheating, battery problems, the heat does a number on batteries, and we definitely do a lot of battery changes out here," he said.

We checked this afternoon with an infrared thermometer. The asphalt was 141 degrees Fahrenheit. The hood of a car reached 180 degrees.

"If it doesn't have coolant, you can blow the motor up," he said.

Overheating engines can be the biggest danger.

"A bottle of antifreeze might cost you five or six bucks, it can save you thousands of dollars when it comes to having to replace the motor," said Volmer.

We stopped to check on a vehicle, here's how you should check for overheating.

"There is a minimum level on there, as long as you have fluid above the minimum you are good to go. If there is no fluid, you probably need to get the car checked out," he said.

Next, check your battery. "Making sure the cables are snug on there, loose cables will keep the car from starting," he said.

But even if it looks good, Volmer says you may want to replace your battery every few years anyway. "This two, three months of triple digits do a number on these batteries, 2-3 years is probably the tops," he said.

And then, check your tires.

"If this was bad you'd see splitting in here," said Volmer.

And should the worse happen, call AAA or another roadside assistance plan. Everyone should have one just in case.

"We will always have a cold bottle of water for you to try and at least put a smile on your face, we know no one wants to break down," he said.

Just in case the worse happens, you may want to keep an emergency kit of water, a flashlight, extra batteries, and a few snacks should you have a long wait. AAA also wants to remind drivers to never, ever, leave a child or pet in a hot car, not even for a minute.
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