Rides need extra care during hot summer months

July 7, 2012 Feature Print Print
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As the Oklahoma summer kicks into full gear and temperatures break into the triple digits, there are a few things to know to keep your car running and maintained for the summer.

Mechanic Sam Wilkerson said the summer months can do lasting damage to cars if they aren’t properly taken care of. He said there are a few simple steps to preventing damage.

• Check your tires and their air pressure. As the temperatures rise, so does the pressure of the air in your tires. Wilkerson said investing in a tire gauge and regularly checking the pressure will help prevent blowouts and flats.

He also stressed checking the spare tire as well and making sure you have proper equipment if you have a blowout.

“Check the wear on the tread of your tires too.” Wilkerson said. “If you put a penny in your tire’s tread and the tread is higher than from the edge to the top of (Abraham) Lincoln’s head it should be good. If it is on his face, your tire is too worn.”

• Checking your car’s oil regularly is another easy measure one can take to prevent engine failure. Running your car with low or no oil can seize an engine and could destroy the engine.

• Recharging your car’s air conditioner is a simple process that can help you keep cool during rides. Walmart sells refrigerant recharge kits for around $20, and the process takes about 10 minutes to do yourself. Wilkerson said small things like checking fluids, air filters and windshield wiper blades also helps. Dust and cotton clogs up air filters, and wiper blades crack in the heat and might not be effective during summer rains.

• Cleaning your car out regularly helps, too, he said.

“Getting the junk out of the trunk will help improve gas mileage a little. A clean car is a happy car.”

A more detailed checklist for summer car care is offered at NPR’s Car Talk website, featuring tips from hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi, also known as Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers.

The guide is 14 pages long and includes a checklist to take to your mechanic as well as a list of things car owners can check themselves. The guide is available online at CarTalk.com, search “Summer Driving Tips” in the search bar. The guide also is available in a printable PDF download.

To contact Mitchell Richards, email sportswriter@occc.edu.

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