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dust-storms-and-auto-repairAnyone who lives in the Mesa or Tempe areas knows the dangers and possibility of a dust storm happening with little warning. Dust storms are common in Arizona and usually occur between May and September. A dust storm usually arrives in the form of a wall of dust and debris as large as miles long and thousands of feet high. The simple description can cause fear and concern, as it should. When they strike, they put you and other motorists in danger. Driving conditions become hazardous as the storms blind us, reduce visibility and can cause chain collisions and pile ups. Although they only last a few minutes, the effects can be serious to your vehicle. We encourage drivers to know what actions to take to stay safe and what you’ll want to do for your vehicle in the aftermath.

How to drive during a dust storm

When it comes to safety, there are important things to remember. First, pay attention to news warnings. When threatening weather is present, listen to your local radio or television stations or the NOAA Weather Radio for Dust Storm Warnings. If you see a dense dust storm coming over or approaching a roadway, pull your vehicle off the pavement as far as possible. Stop, turn off your lights, set the emergency brake, and take your foot off of the brake pedal. Do not enter the dust storm if you can avoid it. If there is nowhere to pull off, proceed only at a speed suitable for the visibility at hand, turn on your lights, and honk the horn occasionally. Use the painted lines to help guide you and watch for lights from other motorists. Continue to look for a safe place to pull off. Never stop on the roadway, as this is how many accidents occur!

What to do after a dust storm

After a dust storm, you may want to check for any damage to your vehicle. Our Tempe auto repair shop has experience helping motorists ensure that their vehicle is safe and free of damage after sitting or driving through dust clouds and debris. Because dust storms carry small rocks, first check your windshield. Does it need repairs? You will also want to check your windshield washer fluid frequently during dust storm season. You’ll need it to help clear off your windshield after the dust passes. Our auto mechanics can also check your under carriage to ensure nothing is caught or clogged. Clogged radiators or front grilles are dangerous and can cause overheating. Dust storms can also cause damage to your paint, brake pads, calipers and sensors. Finally, we will check your air filter and change it if needed.

You should get your car checked regularly to ensure that these Arizona dust storms do not do unnecessary amounts of damage to your car. Proper car maintenance can help keep your car running for a long time.  Come let our professionals make sure your car is safe before and after a dust storm hits!