Extreme heat can cause vehicle fires - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Extreme heat can cause vehicle fires

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The extreme heat makes conditions ripe for vehicle fires.  Vehicle owners should be vigilant and have their autos inspected and properly maintained during severe hot weather.

The National Fire Protection Association® says most highway vehicle fires occur in the months of July and August on Friday afternoons. This report also cited mechanical or electrical failure (leaks, breaks, worn-out parts) as causing approximately 49 percent of U.S. highway vehicle fires.

"Nobody wants to be that person standing by the side of the road watching helplessly as their car is engulfed in flames. And the very hot conditions across the country increase the chance of a vehicle fire—especially in older models," said Tom Hollenstain, research administrator at the State Farm Insurance Vehicle Research Facility. "But if you keep your car in good operating condition, you'll do a lot to help avoid that danger."

To lessen the likelihood of a highway vehicle fire, experts recommends the following car care tips:

• Engine Coolant – Maintaining the coolant at the proper level is vital during hot summer weather. Refer to the vehicle's owner's manual for additional instruction or consult with an automotive technician. Never remove the engine's coolant cap if the vehicle has been in operation.

• Engine Oil Level – Motor oil is the life blood of the engine. It not only provides lubrication, it also assists in engine cooling. Maintaining the oil level at the proper range will reduce the chances of engine damage or failure.

• Belts & Hoses – During hot weather, additional stress is placed on the engine's belts and hoses. Gaskets and seals may leak, hoses might deteriorate, and belts could become brittle causing oil consumption to increase. A failed hose or broken belt may cause the engine to overheat. Before turning on the engine, inspect the belts and hoses for unusual wear and cracks.

• Keep it Clean -- Have the engine degreased to cut down on the buildup of oil and grease.

• Slow and Easy – All vehicles should be driven easier during hot weather. If there is a heat advisory, motorists should try to avoid heavy traffic, idling, high speeds and aggressive driving, all of which contribute to the vehicle's engine overheating.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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