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Dead batteries, broken AC, overheating — record heat keeps Phoenix car repair shops busy

Our extreme heat is generating extreme business for Phoenix area auto repair shops.

For 50 years, Dave Martin’s shop has been servicing cars and trucks. 

“The last couple weeks have been brutal,” he said.

They’re seeing dead batteries, broken air conditioning and overheated engines. Business is up 50% compared to winter months.

Martin’s crew works in a big garage with swamp coolers, which he said works well when the humidity is low. Employees are shielded from the sun’s rays but there’s really no escaping the heat.

“I buy a bunch of Gatorade, you know, electrolytes just to keep the guys hydrated, buy some sunflowers seeds to get some salt in them,” he said. “We just drink a lot of water, a lot of Gatorade and really just try to tough it out.”

Besides people needing immediate fixes, Martin gets customers hoping to avoid breakdowns.

“We’re getting a lot of that in there — ‘Hey, we're going on a road trip, we're taking the family, we’re going to California, San Diego, Colorado’ — wherever they're going and they want to make sure the vehicle is in tip top shape before they go,” he said.

Martin said batteries in Arizona don’t last as long as cooler climates, so it’s important to have yours tested. Properly inflated tires are critical because underinflation creates excessive heat and stress that can lead to blowouts.

Drivers should carry water and a fully charged cell phone. When temps are at their peak, so are calls for help — you could be stuck for a while.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.