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Las Vegas’ excessive heat can cause car damage, says mechanic

Las Vegas has been setting records this summer with its excessive heat warnings — reaching highs of 110 degrees — and it can be detrimental to a car’s engine.

Victor Botnari, owner of Universal Motorcars on Spring Mountain Road, explained some of the damages cars can encounter .

“There are a few items that go bad during the heat season, which are the engine cooling system and air conditioning system … fuel pumps — they go bad because they heat up,” said Botnari.

The best way to avoid heat damage is regular car maintenance.

Window tinting may help keep the interior cool but very minimally, according to Botnari.

“It’s recommended to have it (window tint) inspected twice a year. I recommend doing it before summer,” said Botnari. “So whenever you see an item that it’s worn out, where you can see small cracks, it’s recommended to be replaced.”

One thing to also look out for is anything made of rubber, especially tires and engine belts.

“Wherever it’s rubber, rubber cracks and gets dry from the heat and breaks,” said Botnari, while warning people not to over-inflate their tires. “Tires are a big problem … during the heat, the airflow inside the tires expands and more pressure causes the tire to blow out.”

If an engine belt breaks more problems are likely to occur, specifically with the air conditioning system.

“If the belt breaks, then all the accessories will stop. The car will start to overheat and the air conditioning will stop working,” said Botnari.

In extreme cases, ignoring repairs like a fuel or oil leak can be deadly.

“Oil leaks or fuel leaks or something like that — the car can catch fire as well, especially in the heat,” said Botnari.

When people avoid this advice their car might end up like one Botnari was fixing on Monday. A BMW 7 Series that had a melted pulley, broken engine belt and an air conditioning hose that needed replacing — all because of the excessive heat. The car owner is now facing a price of $700 to $900.

The Review-Journal Business Reporting Intern Emerson Drewes can be reached at edrewes@reviewjournal.com or via Twitter @EmersonDrewes.

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