Winter is just about over here in Arizona, time to have your vechicle checked for the warmer months soon ahead. Here is a check list of things we recommend to help keep your vehicle running problem free this summer.
Check your battery, alternator, and starter.You won't get far if the car won't start! The battery can get drained from working harder to start the car in colder temperatures. The same goes for the altenator and starter. Windows that take longer to open and close, dimmer headlights, and interior lights can indicate issues with these components.
Check your brakes. On icy, slippery wet roads, your brakes get a harder workout. Salt or sand used on winter roads can corrode brake parts. Squeaking or grinding noises, and pullling to one side when braking should always be checked out. A soft, mushy feeling pedal when braking is a strong indicator of needed brake repairs. Don't delay in getting your car into the shop, your brakes are the only way of stopping your car and keeping you safe!
Check your tire tread. Take a quarter and insert it into a few grooves on different areas of each tire. If George Washington's head is covered, you should have enough tread. If you have less tread, plan to purchase new tires soon. If you insert a penny into the grooves and the tread does NOT reach Lincoln's head, time for new tires. Always keep your tires inflated to the recommended weight on the manufacturer's instructions. You'll save fuel besides getting a safer, smoother ride. Its recommended that you check the tire pressure when the tire is cold, for a more accurate reading. If you're unsure of the tread depth or proper tire inflation, bring the car in. We'll be happy to check it for you.
Check your belts and hoses. The most common cause of break downs in the summer is broken belts or bad hoses. Check if the belts are cracked or peeling, and if the hoses feel like they are softening. Broken belts can cause you to loose power steering, bad hoses can cause overheating. This is something we recommend you come into the shop to let us check. It takes only a short time, and is well worth it. We get a better look at the hoses when the car is on the lift, we can see them from underneath the vehicle, and check them out more thoroughly.
Test your air conditioner. A MUST here in AZ. Turn it on full blast, if you're not getting full air flow and the car doesn't cool off fairly quickly, bring it in to the shop.
A system charge and new cabin filters will get it in top condition before the hotter weather gets here.
Check your oxygen sensor. To get the best gas mileage, be sure to get this checked. It helps set the fuel mix going into the engine. A malfunctioning oxygen sensor can cause too much gas to be consumed, lowering your mileage by up to 40%. Recommended replacement is at 30,000 to 50,000 miles. This is the most common cause of the "Check Engine" warning light coming on.
If you know your vehicle is due for a tune up, now is the time to do it. With heavy use of the air conditioner, you'll be using more fuel. You'll want to be sure other components are in good condition and not causing you to use more fuel than necessary.
As always, Happy motoring!