Caution: Avoid These Costly Summer Auto Repairs

AAA offers free pre-summer vehicle inspections

Phoenix, Ariz., April 2, 2012. Summer is just around the corner, which—because of the effect of the Arizona heat on vehicles—is also one of the busiest times of year for AAA Auto Repair Centers. That’s why throughout April, National Car Care month, the club is urging motorists to prepare their vehicles for the heat and prevent pricey repairs.

“Arizona’s extreme summer temperatures wreak havoc on vehicles,” said John Walter, director of automotive repair for AAA Arizona. “Adhering to preventative maintenance is a motorist’s best defense against unexpected repairs and breakdowns, which we see all too often during the summer months.”
To help motorists prep their vehicles to brave the heat, AAA researched the top five heat-related repairs seen at AAA club-owned repair facilities during summer months, and what each repair could end up costing:

1. Engine. Extreme heat weighs heavily on a vehicle’s engine. Neglecting minor engine problems such as oil leaks, accessory belts and pulleys or mounts can lead to big expenses down the road—including engine failure.

  • Cost: Engine failure can be one of the most expensive auto repairs, costing $3,000 or more.

2. Air conditioner. The one thing that no Arizona driver wants to be stuck without frequently fails during the hottest months of the year. That’s because heat raises the working pressure of air conditioners, which wears heavy on all system components.

  • Cost: Depending on the severity of the issue, repair costs can vary from $150 to $1,500. However, neglecting a minor issue, such as a leaky hose, can result in early compressor failure, which can run as much as $1,500.

3. Cooling system. A vehicle’s cooling system moves heat away from the engine. This system is put to the test each summer, and as a result, is one of the most common to breakdown in the summer. Neglecting to maintain this system can result in a vehicle overheating, and possible engine failure.

  • Cost: Typical cooling system repairs range from $150 to $700; however, if overheating causes engine failure and transmission programs, repair bills could total thousands of dollars.

4. Steering and suspension. Power steering components have no cooling mechanism, which means Arizona’s summers are especially hard on seals and gaskets. A problem with these components may cause a system leak, which could lead to early failure of the pump or rack and pinion

  • Cost: Depending on the severity of the problem, these repairs can range from $200 to $1,200.

5. Fuel system. Fuel systems, including injectors, pumps and hoses are adversely impacted by heat. In addition, running on empty can cost you: Over time, running tanks low on fuel can lead to early failure of fuel pumps.

  • Cost: Repairs can range from $200 to $900, depending on the problem.

Motorists should also inspect tires and have their battery tested, as issues with these parts are the top causes of breakdowns during the summer.

“Addressing a minor problem before it causes a component or system failure can be the difference between a repair bill that totals a couple hundred dollars versus a couple thousand dollars,” Walter added.

Throughout April, AAA Owned and AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities are offering AAA members free 36-point vehicle inspections and charging system tests. Each inspection holds a $50 value, which is five dollars less than the cost of an annual AAA membership.

Motorists looking to find a trusted auto repair shop to conduct a vehicle check-up during Car Care Month should visit to find a nearby AAA owned or Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facility.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.