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Take Action to Prevent Vehicle Hurricane Damage; Flooded Vehicles Should Be Inspected before Being Started

ROANOKE, Va.--Aug. 2, 20059, 2005--Countless vehicles can be damaged or lost as a result of hurricanes that threaten to inflict billions of dollars in property damage. As hurricanes approach, owners can take several steps to protect their vehicles, according to Bryan Gregory, Advance Auto Parts' Consumer Education Director.

Prior to a hurricane striking, vehicle owners should:

-- Fill the vehicle's gas tank.

-- Remember to close all the vehicle's windows and doors.

-- Move the car to higher ground, if possible, and park away from trees, carports and any loose objects that may become airborne in high winds.

-- If sandbags are available, build a sandbag wall around the vehicle.

-- If the vehicle is equipped with an air filter box, stuff a towel or an inflated balloon into the air box to prevent floodwaters from entering the air intake and internal engine parts.

-- If your battery is weak, replace it.

-- Be sure that your windshield wipers are in good shape.

-- In case you need to leave your area, prepare an emergency kit for your car with a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food, medications, flares, a "life hammer" (to help escape from a car in which you may be trapped in a flood), booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, toilet paper, paper towels, and a small bottle of bleach for purifying contaminated water. Don't forget to charge up cell phones and walkie-talkies, and buy extra batteries.

If, despite prevention efforts, an owner believes that their vehicle was exposed to floodwaters, DO NOT attempt to start the vehicle. Although the vehicle might run, floodwater can affect features such as air bags and electronic equipment. Instead, have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic to ensure that there is no electrical damage, that airbags won't deploy and that all mechanical systems are working properly. After the inspection, replace all fluids in the vehicle.

"Hurricanes can cause extensive damage and any exposure to floodwaters can affect a vehicle's braking system and electronic and mechanical systems, particularly if the vehicle stood in water for a prolonged period," Gregory cautioned.

In addition, if a vehicle's interior has been affected by water, steam clean the interior of the vehicle. Advance Auto Parts carries a wide variety of interior cleaning products, air fresheners, and wash and wax products to help restore your vehicle's appearance.

Advance Auto Parts and its well-trained and knowledgeable Team Members will work hard to meet residents' needs in areas damaged by hurricanes, providing tools, parts and advice to get vehicles up and running again.

For more maintenance tips and advice that gives customers "Know How" visit a nearby Advance Auto Parts or go to the company's website at and click the "How-To, Why-To Answers" link.

About Advance Auto Parts:

Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts is the second largest automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries and maintenance items in the United States, based on sales and store count. The Company has almost 2,700 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets.