Families prepare for heat, experts warn of problems for cars

Families prepare for heat, experts warn of problems for cars


by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC


Posted on June 28, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 8:07 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This summer’s first scorching heat wave has people trying to stay cool and experts warning about the effects of heat waves on automobiles.

Thursday at Cordelia Park, it was no coincidence Andrea Brabson was sitting in the shade while her kids, nieces and nephews played in the pool.  Brabson has 10 children staying at her house this weekend because relatives are in town.  She feels like a football coach coming up with a game plan to keep everyone cool as temperatures could reach triple digits. 

"We cook out in the shade, wait until later in the day until they (children) come out and play, just different things,” Brabson said.  “It's workable but you have to figure it out.  We have Gatorade, we have water.  We have cold drinks, things like that—nothing really hot because it makes it worse.”

Two blocks away on Parkwood Avenue, a car wished it had cold fluids keeping it cool. Instead, you could see steam coming from the engine with the hood up.  The diagnosis was a cracked radiator. 

Body Works Plus owner Brian Davies says it appears the heat of the day plus the heat of the engine was too much for the radiator to handle.  Fortunately, two men pushed the woman’s car to his shop at the intersection of Parkwood Avenue and Davidson Street.

AAA Carolinas says heat waves are an enemy to your car.   AAA found heat waves over the last two years led to a more than 70 percent increase above average for cars needing new batteries.  AAA also found a more than 50 percent increase above normal in cars needing air conditioning repairs and a 40 percent increase above average for AAA members requesting roadside assistance.

“In the summer, heat is your vehicle’s worst enemy, and the most vulnerable component is the battery, followed by your air conditioner,” said Dusty Holcomb, president of AAA’s 32 Carolina-based Car Care Centers. “Heat dries up fluids and reduces the battery’s ability to function properly. Weak cooling systems often fail in extreme heat.”

Davies says he too sees a correlation between heat waves and car problems.

"Batteries tend to fail, radiator systems if the fluids are low will overheat, so absolutely, heat has a huge effect on mechanical,” Davies added.

The rule of thumb for people is drink plenty of fluids and limit exposure to the sun.

The rules of thumb for your car is check the fluids, filters and hoses and limit the heat tearing away at your car.

Burke Co. child dies after being left in hot car

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina health officials say a 2-year-old child has died after being left in a hot car, the first such death in the state since 2009. 

The state Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release that the Burke County child died earlier this month. The release didn't say when the child died or provide any other details. A spokeswoman didn't immediately return a call.  

The last time a child died from hyperthermia in North Carolina was in 2009. A report released this week by the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team says 19 children died in hot vehicles between 1999 and 2009.  

Temperatures are expected to be in the 100s over the next few days in parts of North Carolina.