With gasoline prices remaining affordable, motorists should be heading to the highways in record numbers this summer. Whether you’re planning on taking a short jaunt or a long road trip, you’ll want to prepare your car or truck to take on a red-hot Mother Nature.
For starters, ensure that your vehicle’s battery is up to the task – Arizona’s high temperatures can actually strain a battery’s capacity more than winter’s lows up in the Snow Belt. Check the battery’s fluid level by ether removing the battery caps or by peering through the small “window” provided for this purpose (check your car’s owner’s manual for details). If the fluid level is low, top it off with distilled water. Use a soft wire brush dipped in ammonia or baking soda to clean battery contracts if they’re becoming corroded. If you’re less mechanically inclined, have a technician check and test the vehicle’s battery to determine how well it holds a charge. If the battery is several years old, consider replacing it now as cheap insurance against being stranded later.
Have the vehicle’s oil and filter changed with the change of seasons, and pay attention to the car’s other fluids – including radiator coolant and brake, transmission and power steering fluid – topping them off as necessary or having them changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Likewise, inspect (or have a technician check) the car’s air filter to ensure that the engine is “breathing freely” – it’s usually located under a plastic cover that’s off to one side of the engine. Remove the clips and cover, take the air filter out of its housing and give it a shake or jolt to dislodge any loose dirt; swap it with a new one it if it looks dirty. Likewise, examine the engine’s belts and hoses and have them replaced if they’re cracked, frayed or worn.
Give the vehicle’s tires a good once over, looking for uneven and excessive tread wear. Tires are manufactured with warning bars that appear in the grooves of the tires when they have 2/32″ of tire tread remaining; if you see them, have the tires replaced. Otherwise, stick a penny head first into the tread; if the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, it’s time for a change. If you find cracks or cuts in the sidewall, take the car in for an inspection and/or have the suspect tire replaced to protect against a blowout.
Keep the tires properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation (again, consult the owner’s manual) and check them regularly via a good quality air pressure gauge. A tire’s air pressure can fluctuate by 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Under-inflation can adversely affect a car’s handling and its fuel economy; over-inflation can cause uneven wear and possibly a blowout if the tires get hot.
It’s also a good idea to replace the windshield wipers, which tend to take a beating from snow, ice and road grit over the winter months. And don’t forget to refill the windshield washing fluid reservoir.
One additional tip: As the temperatures begin to sizzle, car experts recommend keeping sufficient gas in the tank at all times (no less than a quarter tank) to keep the vehicle’s fuel pump (which is usually located within the gas tank) cooled. Fuel pumps tend to take a beating in the summer soaking up heat radiated by road pavement and parking lots.
Ensure your vacation plans aren’t ruined by car trouble by letting the experts at Jack Furrier Tire and Auto Care give your vehicle a summer checkup.
For more than 55 years, the experts at Jack Furrier Tire and Auto Care have been serving the Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley and Sierra Vista communities. Whether your needs, the team at Jack Furrier has the expertise to get you back on the road any time of year. They were even voted “Best Auto Repair Shop,” “Best Tire Store,” “Best Locally Owned Business” and “Best Customer Service” in the Arizona Daily Star’s 2016 Reader’s Choice awards.
To find the Jack Furrier Tire and Auto Care location nearest you, visit JackFurriers.com.