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Mechanic: Heavy Arizona rains can cause car problems

PHOENIX -- Cars were splashing through puddles across Maricopa County on Tuesday after a big storm made its way through the area.

The host of KTAR's "Bumper to Bumper" radio show, Dave Riccio, said most cars probably made it through the rain OK, but some could have an issue.

"The day after a rainstorm, you great squeaky brakes," he said. "That usually blows off in a matter of time. If a car gets any sort of water in the ignition system, spark plug wires, or anything like that, you'll have stalling issues and the car might run rough."

Riccio said if water gets into a car's compression chamber, it could ruin the pistons and cause the car to hydrolock.

It's pretty easy to spot a car that has hydrolocked: Look for the one stalled out and is stuck in a flood.

"You know the guy that you see on the 5 o'clock news? The one on top of his car, which is stalled out in the middle of flood waters? Chances are that he hydrolocked his motor," said Riccio. "So not only is he going to sit on top of that car until the helicopter shows up to rescue him, but he also wrecked his engine."

He said most newer cars are built well enough that Tuesday's rain should not pose an issue.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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