Owning a vehicle has become a crucial element in the lives of us average Americans. But a special problem we face in this Valley of the (scorching) Sun is that summer can wreak havoc with those machines on which we rely so heavily.
It’s a time, simply said, when a little bit of planning can prevent a whole lot of trouble.
Certain issues and their accompanying repairs could potentially be avoided if people were aware of the importance of vehicle maintenance and would remind themselves that their vehicle needs regular, periodic attention.
That’s the advice of Beau Perric, a mechanic at American Five Star Car Care and Transmission on Apache Road just east of McClintock in Tempe.
In a nutshell, suggests Perric:
If your vehicle takes care of you on a daily basis, why wouldn’t you take care of it?
“Whether it’s a new or used car, maintenance is the key to a longer lifespan,” Perric said.
Perric is a firm believer in taking the time to maintain fluids at optimal levels, and consistently checking other parts of the vehicle in order to avoid a serious repair.
A vehicle can withstand certain conditions, like the normal effects of cold, wet and warm weather, but others can prove to be quite damaging.
The perfect example of such harsh conditions is during our Valley’s summer months. The heat hardly plays fair, he says.
Perric encourages Kyrene Corridor vehicle owners to pay special attention during the summer months in order to ensure a safe, properly functioning machine.
The top five maintenance issues to stay on top of this summer are:
1. Tire pressure is extremely important to maintain when exposed to consistent heat in the summer. Heat is actually worse than cold for tire pressure because the air in the tires becomes very thin and begins to seep out through the valve stem.
‘”You have to check your tire pressure often. When your tires are low, you’re going to start riding the sidewalls, which results in uneven ware. Worse case scenario is (when) you have a blowout on the freeway; best-case scenario is you have to replace your tires,” says Perric.
“Tire wear and bad tires cause suspension and steering problems. It’s all interrelated. People constantly mix up the differences between maintenance and repairs.”
2. An efficient and reliable cooling system. The cooling system is what makes everything else in the vehicle function properly, especially as a shield to deflect the infamous Arizona summer heat. The key to maintaining a successful running coolant is balancing the PH level correctly and checking the levels often.
The PH level should be 50 percent water and 50 percent coolant.
“Most people add tap water, which eventually creates a calcium build-up in the engine causing clogs,” Perric explains.
“If you’re going to do this on your own, remember to buy distilled water.” Most local auto shops are glad to assist in checking the PH balance of any vehicle, he notes.
3. Dependable and precise brake pads are a crucial piece in the safety and overall proper function of a vehicle. If the brake pads are squeaking, whistling or vibrating, have the brakes checked and changed, if necessary.
4. Maintaining a bounteous gas tank during the summer is cost effective. The fuel inside the gas tank serves as a cooling agent. If it’s close to empty, the gas tank is boiling hot, which increases the chance of the gasoline evaporating. In order to avoid losing that precious gasoline, Pettric advises to keep all gas tanks above one half.
5. An accurate and cool air conditioning system. A huge priority is to have your AC serviced in order to ensure a cool summer.
The majority of auto repair shops provide the AC service at a low cost, according to Pettric. And he adds, jokingly:
“I don’t care if the tires are falling off your car—as long as that AC is cold.”
Information: American Five Star Car Care is at 2070 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe. Phone: 480-966-8181.