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Las Vegas car talk: Heat and your ride, and answering your questions

FILE - In this April 22, 2021 file photo, cars wait at a red light during rush hour at the Las Vegas Strip, in Las Vegas.
John Locher
/
AP
FILE - In this April 22, 2021 file photo, cars wait at a red light during rush hour at the Las Vegas Strip, in Las Vegas.

As we inch closer to the sweltering summer months, car problems are on the rise. You've likely seen more cars stalled on the side of the road. Whether it's an overheated engine, a failing AC, or unfamiliar grinding and whining noises, car troubles in the heat are frustrating, agonizing, and potentially costly.

At the same time, you know how invaluable it is to have someone knowledgeable about cars to guide you.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.

Two car experts with decades of experience joined us on State of Nevada to answer your questions and give tips on how to keep your car running smoothly through the summer.

ENGINE OVERHEATING

Ever drive your car in the blistering heat and see your temperature slowly creep into the red zone? It can be anxiety inducing and if the problem isn’t taken care of, it could permanently damage your engine.

But what could be the problem and how do you fix it?

Frank Scandura, mechanic and owner of Frank’s European Car Service, said it could be for a variety of reasons; from low coolant to a broken radiator fan.

“Today’s engines cannot tolerate overheating and they’re highly susceptible to temperatures,” Scandura said.

He continued,

“Be prepared. Let’s say a hose broke too, there’s a very good possibility something else will need to be done after it’s repaired. A good shop will continue checking and make sure nothing else is damaged.”

AC NOT COOLING IN LONG DISTANCES

Many of us travel a lot during the summer, and Craig from Southern Highlands in Las Vegas called in with a concern about his ac losing cold air when traveling. He said he has to turn off his car and let it rest for a bit before it can start expelling cool air again.

Why could this be happening?

Troy Fogle, automation instructor for local trade school, United Education Institute, said there could be a small leak in the ac system that leads to blockage.

“Your gears will start to grind and little metal flakes go through your system and get clogged inside filters,” Fogle said.

“Those filters can then cause ice buildup. AC systems in the car are just a smaller version of what we have in our home.”

NEW OR USED CAR PARTS?

When your car breaks down, it’s likely you’ll have to replace broken or rusty parts with new ones. However, to save a few bucks, you might consider buying them used instead.

But will that really save you money?

Scandura said it’s often better to buy new, as it could save you more money in the long-run.

“A lot of used parts today are programmed to a specific car and cannot be installed in another car. If you go to a professional repair shop, let them get the parts and pay the extra money.”

Scandura continued,

“More and more reputable shops won’t let people bring their own parts in because of liability. If I put an alternator in your car that’s low quality, it could start an engine fire.”


Guests: Frank Scandura, owner, Frank’s European Car Service; Troy Fogle, automotive instructor, United Education Institute

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Christopher Alvarez is a news producer and podcast audio editor at Nevada Public Radio for the State of Nevada program, and has been with them for over a year.