Manchester, Connecticut

Spring / Summer Tips

Summer heat, stop and go traffic and dust will take a toll on your vehicle.  Coupled with the effects that old man Winter has had and you could be poised for an unanticipated breakdown.  You can lessen the odds of a mechanical failure through periodic maintenance.  Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale value too!!!

Some of the following tips are easy to do while others require a skilled technician:

AIR CONDITIONING: A marginally operating air conditioning system will fail during hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician.  Recharging or repairing air conditioning systems without the proper equipment and discharging Freon into the air is against the law.

COOLING SYSTEM: The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. Your cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled every twenty-four months.  The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically.  A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended.  DO NOT REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP UNTIL THE ENGINE HAS THOROUGHLY COOLED DOWN!!!  The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked.  Coolant systems should be pressure checked for leaks.

OIL:  Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your owner's manual, more often (3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with large amounts of luggage or tow a trailer.   Grease your vehicle and check the underside of the vehicle for leaks.

ENGINE PERFORMANCE:  Replace all other filters (air, fuel, pvc, etc.) as recommended or more often if operating in dusty conditions.  Get engine problems (hard starting, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a reputable repair facility.

WINDSHIELD WIPERS:  A dirty windshield causes poor visibility and eye fatigue.  Replace worn wiper blades and be sure that the vehicle's windshield washer always has washer fluid.

LIGHTS:  Inspect all lights and bulbs.  Replace burned out bulbs.  Periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses using a moist rag to prevent scratching.

TIRES:  Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles.  Check tire pressure once a month, letting the tires "cool down" first and don't forget to check your spare tire also.  Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing and cupping.  Check sidewalls for cuts and nicks.  Have your tires aligned if there is uneven tread wear or if you vehicle pulls to one side.

BRAKES:  Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your owner's manual or sooner if you notice pulsation, grabbing, noises or longer stopping distances.  Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.

BATTERY:  Batteries can fail any time of the year.  The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment.  Routine care includes scraping away corrosion from posts and cable connections, cleaning all surfaces and tightening all connections.  AVOID CONTACT WITH CORROSIVE DEPOSITS AND BATTERY ACID! WEAR EYE PROTECTION AND RUBBER GLOVES AROUND BATTERIES! MOST IMPORTANT--DO NOT SMOKE OR HAVE AN OPEN FLAME AROUND A BATTERY.  BATTERIES PRODUCE HYDROGEN GAS AND CAN EXPLODE WHEN IN CONTACT WITH AN OPEN FLAME.

EMERGENCIES:  Carry some basic tools such as a first aid kit, flares and a flashlight.  Carry a gallon of water in case of a coolant leak to get you to the nearest telephone or service area.  Consider purchasing a cellular telephone for emergencies.  Any technician will be more than happy to offer suggestions.

Have a Safe and Happy Spring and Summer Season

From the Fleet Maintenance Technicians!!!