Thursday, August 12, 2010

Extreme Heat May Increase Vehicle Fire Threat

/PRNewswire/ -- The extreme heat experienced in communities across the U.S. makes conditions ripe for vehicle fires. State Farm reminds car owners to be vigilant and have their autos inspected and properly maintained during severe hot weather.

"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 Vehicle Research Facility. "But if you keep your car in good operating condition, you'll do a lot to help avoid that danger."

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.

To lessen the likelihood of a highway vehicle fire, State Farm 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.

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