Spring provides good time for car careWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Tom Konecny
Spring cleaning should include readying that one place we’ve neglected all winter where we spend a lot of time, converse with family, eat a few meals and sometimes get ready in the morning: the car.
“Really the number one thing is maintenance overall,” said Bob Kazmierczak, AAA Northwest Ohio vice president of automotive services and enterprise development. “The reality is, I think that if people would keep up on the overall maintenance, they would have not as many issues when it comes to repairs.”
While cars are more computerized than ever, the basics still need checked regularly: fluids, tires, belts, hoses, batteries and lights. However, we’re not only wired for procrastination, but to put things off that are out of sight, out of mind and perhaps even to ignore the warning signs.
“That’s like telling a surgeon, ‘I can take out this tumor later,’” Kazmierczak said. “Cars are becoming more and more complex, so when auto technicians are telling you something, it really should be checked.”
We may put off car care because it involves those two factors we can never have enough of — time and money — but if complexity drives us away, there are still plenty of things drivers can do on their own.
“The first thing, and I stress this with family and everybody, is to check tire pressure once a month,” said Ed Meggitt, manager of Goodyear Auto Service Center on N. Alexis Road. “Not only will you make the tires last longer, but it will help with gas mileage.”
Another simple exercise is the tire penny test, according to Kazmierczak, where you insert a Lincoln penny head-first into the tire tread. If you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and the tire needs to be replaced.
Kazmierczak also suggested looking at the belts, and if you see several cracks within an inch, then those should be replaced. Hoses should also be inspected; a good hose is pliable but strong, and with a bad one you can feel cracking on the inside, or it will be extremely hard.
Furthermore, lights should be inspected routinely.
In spring and summer, we’re all getting ready to do trips we normally don’t do, according to Meggitt, and we want to be safe.
Plus, the hot weather can wreak havoc on the battery, which supplies electric energy to the automobile.
“Batteries die more in the heat than they do from the cold weather,” Meggitt said. “The heat is what destroys the grids and things on the inside. Cold weather lowers cold cranking amps but doesn’t destroy a battery as much as heat.”
A basic spring checkup of standard maintenance items may run around $200-$300, according to Kazmierczak.
Winterizing a car may be important to prepare for the cold, but it’s the endurance of that long, brutal season that makes a post-winter checkup so vital.
“As bad as the potholes were this winter,” Meggitt said. “Every car in Toledo should have their alignment checked.”