Keep your car's engine clean to avoid fires

SPOKANE, Wash. - Hot cars

With a long hot summer ahead don't forget your car. The hot temperatures hitting our area could leave you stranded along the roadway or worse, wishing you had a fire extinguisher.

75-percent of car fires start in the engine compartment and so when things get hot, you need to open up the hood and take a look at what's going on inside.

If this week's weather has left you hot and bothered, think about what Jeremy Pratt's been going through. Pratt, an employee at Oil Can Henry's, said that because his customers are in a hurry, Pratt can't wait for their cars to cool off before changing their oil, which is similar to sticking your head in an oven.

"Oh definitely so, it's about another 20 degrees added on top and if the car's been driving forever it's even hotter," he said.

Down in the pit below your vehicle, Pratt can get a good look at what's leaking from your engine.

The oils and fluids that can build up over time and on the hottest of days, start burning.

"We check out stuff like that any heavy oil engine leaks, transmission fluid leaks can be very flammable, when it reaches a certain temperature, they're all petroleum products and you always have that danger of fire occurring," Oil Can Henry's employee David Dorey said.

There's also about five hoses that move flammable liquids around your engine compartment, including the gas line, and if one of those are showing signs of wear and tear, they need to be replaced.

Oil Can Henry's technicians say they are always happy to give your car the once over before you head out on a long hot road trip.

"Even if you're not a pre-existing customer, they're more than welcome to come in and we'll inspect the vehicle for them, check everything out for them. If anything is super low or we have recommendations for them, we'll let them know at the time and we'll top that stuff off for them," Dorey said.

A clean engine is a lot less likely to catch fire, so if you can't get your leak fixed right away, you can get rid of that flammable gunk at a local car wash.

And if you're a smoker you should know the number three cause of car fires are discarded cigarettes. You flick out them out window but somehow they sometimes end up in your back seat.