With triple digit temperatures looming, Valley residents are preparing for a long and hot summer. One item that should be on every car owner’s summer preparedness checklist: preventative maintenance. That’s because over half of the roadside assistance calls AAA receives every summer could have been prevented with proper preventative maintenance. And unfortunately, neglecting to prep your ride for summer may not only have you stranded on the roadside, but it may also put a big dent in your wallet.

To provide drivers with some eye-opening insight, AAA researched the top five summer-related car repairs seen at AAA club-owned repair facilities, and what each repair may end up costing you.

1. Engine-related. Many engine components can fail in part due to the heat. Failing to address minor problems with the engine can lead to big expenses down the road, up to and including engine failure, which can cost $3,000 or more.

2. Cooling system. Typical repairs cost anywhere from $150 to $700; however, if an engine becomes severely overheated it can cause engine failure, as well as transmission problems, possibly resulting in thousands of dollars in repairs.

3. Air conditioning. Depending on the severity of the problem, repair costs can vary widely, ranging from $150 to $1,500. Neglecting to address minor issues, such as a leaky hose, can result in early compressor failure, which can run as much as $1,500.

4. Steering and suspension. Power steering pumps and racks have no cooling mechanism, so seals and gaskets can really take a beating from the brutal summer heat. These repairs can range from $200 to $1,200, depending on the severity of the problem.

5. Fuel system. Repairs on injectors, pumps, hoses and regulators can quickly add up. In addition, running on empty can cost you: Over time, running tanks low on fuel can lead to early failure of fuel pumps. These repairs can range from $200 to $900, depending on the problem.

The good news is drivers can mitigate extreme repair bills by simply ensuring their vehicles are prepared for the summer heat. In honor of National Car Care Month, AAA is offering members free 36-point inspections during the month of April at all of our four club-owned repair facilities and at any of the more than 120 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across the state. To find reliable, high-quality repair service, visit AAA.com/repair to locate the nearest AAA club-owned or approved facility.

• Linda Gorman is communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or lgorman@arizona.aaa.com.

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