Ask A Trooper

Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Question: I see a lot of vehicles broke down and on the side of the road in the summer months. This is when we have our best weather but I am not sure if people realize how hard the heat can be on a vehicle. Many look like they are on a road trip. Can you provided some insight on how to prevent or prepare for this?

Answer: For many of us, summertime usually means vacations and summer road trips. Now is a good time to remember how the warmer weather and heat can impact a vehicle and the motorist. Here is some information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the summer changes. 

Air Conditioning – As the temperature rises, your A/C has to work harder to keep your vehicle cool. Check A/C performance before traveling. A lack of air conditioning on a hot summer day affects everyone, but is particularly dangerous for people who are in poor health or who are sensitive to heat, such as children and older adults.

Heatstroke – The summertime months have proven to be especially deadly for children when it comes to vehicular heatstroke. Heatstroke in vehicles often occurs when a child is left unattended in a parked vehicle or managers to get into an unattended vehicle. Never leave children alone in the car—not even for a few minutes. Vehicles heat up quickly. Even if the outside temperature is in the 70s and the windows are cracked, the temperature in a vehicle can rapidly reach deadly levels. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. Visit to learn more tips and reminders to prevent heatstroke.

Belts and Hoses – High summer temperatures accelerate the rate at which rubber belts and hoses degrade. Look under the hood and inspect all belts and hoses to make sure there are no signs of bulges, blisters, cracks or cuts in the rubber. It’s best to replace them now if they show signs of obvious wear. While you’re at it, make sure all hose connections are secure.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,