Top Five Reasons Cars Break Down in Hot Climates

Dale Bertram
July 6, 2012

I just read a report listing the top reasons for car breakdowns in Arizona, which happen to be the same exact problems we see when cars are towed to our Phoenix shop.

The Fuel Pump
With the high cost of fuel these days, people are waiting until they hear the “beep” to add gasoline. This is causing a lot of fuel pumps to fail. When you go below a quarter of a tank, the fuel pump is not completely submerged in fuel. This causes undue heat to be generated since the fuel acts as a coolant. We recommend keeping more than a quarter of the tank full and changing the fuel filter about every 30,000 miles to keep your pump healthy.

Our heat in Phoenix absolutely destroys batteries, so we always recommend testing your battery twice a year. When you have it tested, you have a better chance of replacing it when it is weak instead of having it break down and completely fail. When we service vehicles, we also clean the terminals because buildup on the terminals weakens their strength.

Radiators and Transmissions
The desert heat will wipe them out. The engine has a gauge in the dash so you can monitor its temperature, but most cars and trucks do not have a transmission temperature gauge. Fluids are literally the life blood of your vehicle and we recommend fluid exchanges to give your radiator and transmission a long life. Using the correct fluid at the correct levels is vitally important.

Hoses and Belts
We inspect hoses and belts to make sure they don’t feel brittle or mushy or are cracked, frayed, or bulging. We also recommend replacing them according the manufacturer’s suggestion.

Keeping tires rotated and replacing them when they lose tread is very important safety concern. Keeping them properly inflated extends their life!

Dale Bertram

About the Author

I am an ASE-certified technician and have owned my own auto repair business, Fairway Auto Repair, since 1991. I am also an AMI graduate with a AAM degree, and continue my education by taking various courses during the year. I am a hard core car guy. Basically if it isn't mechanical, I'm not interested in it. This passion for vehicles has driven me throughout my life. My hobbies are my cars. I have two 1968 Camaros and a 1971 Camaro that my son and I built. I also raced an IMCA modified dirt track car for 10 years. In the last few years, I have been involved with autocross and road course racing events.  I have been married to my wife, Lorie, for 28 years and we have two children, Kaila (16) and Landon (13). I also enjoy the outdoors and hiking. Please check out my shop's page at

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