Prolonged extreme heat will damage cars, trucks - Tucson News Now

Prolonged extreme heat will damage cars, trucks

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The National Weather Service said when temperatures reach 110 degrees for days on end, it has a cumulative effect on our bodies.

The constant wear and tear without a chance for a cooldown, can lead to many health issues, including among people who are normally thought to be healthy.

Cars, even new ones, also will experience adverse effects of the heat.

"They just break down," said Jim Mooney, owner of Frontier towing in Tucson. "Just like we get hot, they get hot."

There are times of the year when motorists can sort of ignore their car, like during the cooler months. But the extreme heat event which Tucson is experiencing right now is not one of those times.

Motorists should get routine maintenance at any time of the year, but right now, there are issues which can cause serious damage.

Tires are among the vulnerable items. 

"When it's 115 degrees like it is today," he said on Monday, June 19. "The tires are 170 degrees."

And without a cooldown, they wear down and dry out.

That's what happened to Cameron McNelly, who said he was driving to Tucson from Casa Grande in the heat of the day.

"Driving down the freeway, just cruising," he said. "Started feeling a little bump and the next thing I knew, I heard a loud bang."

That loud bang was the sound of his left front tire shredding.

The tires are 4 years old and only have a couple thousand miles on them.

"We don't drive it very often," he said.

The tread pulled away but the tire did not lose air, so it handled OK until he could get the car to a stop.

"It scared me more than anything," he said. 

He was fortunate, as Mooney will attest.

"A blowout can cause an accident, a rollover," he said. "(That) wreck can cause you blocking traffic, which can cause five more wrecks."

While admittedly not a tire expert, Mooney said he has seen enough and experienced enough in his business to know summer is a bad time for tires.

"They don't make them like they used to," he said. "And in the heat, it's even more vital because they dry out."

Mooney said if an owner can't afford to have the car checked by a mechanic, most families have a person who tinkers with cars and maybe they can do the job. But the most important thing is to not ignore the car right now.  

"The cars are going to fail," he said. "They just can't take the extended amount of temperatures over time."

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