Warmer weather calls for special car careWritten by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In a perfect world, in a perfect climate, our vehicles would maintain themselves. In reality, there are several steps that prudent owners should take now that the snows have melted and warmer weather has come to Northwest Ohio.
Not all of us are auto mechanics, but perhaps some out there may have a working knowledge of their vehicles — or at least enough to save a few bucks on expensive repairs every now and then. For those types, there are several things that can be done at home now that the Midwest freeze is gone.
According to Bob Kaz-mierczak, enterprise development manager at AAA Northwest Ohio, one of the first things that should be checked is the tires. Tires should not only be assessed for wear, but age should be considered as well.
“Tires that are six years old and older, even though they may have good tread, generally become very dry, and they break down in the heat,” Kazmierczak said.
Next, Kazmierczak said that one should look around under the car, keeping in mind that some things go unnoticed during the winter simply because we do not want to let the cold air in through the windows.
“A lot of times when the windows are closed, you don’t hear everything,” he said. “Listen for noises and look at belts and hoses when the weather gets warmer. Heat is the toughest on them, and if they are warm they may fail.”
Additionally, be sure to check out the battery. Sometimes warmer weather may be just as hard (or more so) on batteries as the winter chill. Kazmierczak added that one should also frequently check fluids and maintain them throughout the spring and summer, as well as keeping an eye on things that may be damaged due to our local climate.
“Because of the winters that we have and the chemicals used on the road, we do see steering components and things under the car rusting, whereas they don’t see that down south in warmer weather. Also, the brake lines and other components may be subject to whatever’s happening down there.”
Of course, these are all suggestions for maintaining the car’s critical functions. But let’s not kid ourselves — there is one technically nonessential component that we may not want to go without, as Ballas Buick and GMC Service Advisor John Millenbaugh emphasized.
“Check the air conditioner. You definitely want to make sure your AC is working properly,” Millenbaugh said.
Kazmieczak explained the process of checking one’s AC.
“In warmer weather, obviously, you want to make sure everything with the air conditioning is working,” he said. “If it’s blowing out warm air, it’s going to need to be recharged, and chances are there’s a leak, because that’s a sealed system.”
It is equally important to make sure that the engine itself stays cool, so be sure to check out the cooling system. Make certain that the antifreeze is clean and at the proper level, and continue to maintain it during the summer months.
For those who may not feel comfortable inspecting their own vehicles, have it checked at a reputable shop, Kazmierczak said.
“Obviously there are a few things people can check themselves, but if they don’t have any idea what to do, my recommendation would be for them to take it into an auto shop and let them check it, because those are the trained eyes looking at the vehicle and they’re going to spot things that the novice would not,” Kazmierczak said.
Millenbaugh said vehicle owners can stop into any auto dealership or service garage and ask for a “maintenance inspection.”
“They will check everything over, and look at your cooling system as well as the Freon levels,” Millenbaugh said.
He stressed that regular year-round maintenance practices should always be kept up, such as rotating tires every 6,000 miles and oil changes every 3,000 miles.
Taking proper care of one’s vehicle can be simple as long as some sensible steps are taken. Spring and summer is the time for family vacations, as well as continuing the daily grind of driving back and forth to work every day.
Midsummer breakdowns are a hot mess, but proper maintenance and preparation can make spring and summer a cool breeze.