AURORA, Ill. (WMBD) — Your car may have air conditioning, but that does not mean it is infallible against extreme heat.

A heat wave is anticipated across Illinois and Indiana this week, and AAA is urging motorists to be cautious while driving over the next few weeks.

“Nothing ruins a summer trip faster than a flat tire, overheated cooling system or battery that quits working on a hot summer day,” said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA Auto Club Group. “That’s why it is important to perform basic safety checks before you get on the road.”

AAA recommends drivers address five key areas to help their vehicle safely survive high summer temperatures:

1. Heat Can Zap the Life from Batteries: 

  • Securely mount the battery in place to minimize vibration.
  • Clean any corrosive build up from the battery terminals and cable clamps.
  • Ensure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move.
  • If a vehicle’s battery is more than three years old, get it tested by a trained technician to determine how much more life it has.
  1. Keep your Engine Cool:
  • Have the system flushed and the coolant replaced periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Consult the owner’s manual to determine the service intervals appropriate for a vehicle.
  • Inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking, soft spots or other signs of poor condition.
  • Replace worn parts.
  1. Avoid Excessive Heat Where the Rubber Meets the Road:
  • Check tires when the car has not been driven recently.
  • Inflate tires to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, not the number molded into the tire sidewall.
  • Inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem. 
  1. Cars Need Fluids during Extreme Heat Too:
  • Check all vehicle fluids including coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.
  • If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.
  1. Cool Passengers are Happy Passengers:
  • Maintain a comfortable driving environment to reduce fatigue and increase driver alertness for increased vehicle safety.
  • Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

 Motorists should know how to keep cool and be prepared for emergencies while traveling during extremely hot weather. Here are some additional summer driving tips.

  • Whether traveling 5 or 500 miles, every driver should carry important items like a mobile phone charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, drinking water, extra snacks and food, booster cables, emergency flares or reflectors, windshield wiper fluid and a basic toolkit with a tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench. Despite the importance of these items, more than 40 percent of motorists don’t carry such an emergency kit, one of the most valuable summer driving safety tips.
  • Never leave children or animals unattended in a car, not even for a short period of time. Outside air temperatures in the nineties can rise to 125 degrees inside the vehicle very quickly and can cause brain damage or death.
  • When parked, use a sun shield to cover the windshield to minimize heat buildup and to help protect the car’s interior. Cover metal and plastic parts on seat belts and child safety seats to prevent burns.
  • Open the vehicle’s doors and let the interior cool for a few minutes before entering.
  • Remember to remove electronics such as cell phones, iPods, etc. from your vehicle, as the high heat can drain the batteries and possibly damage internal components.