3OYS: Summer car care tips

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The countdown to Memorial Day weekend begins, but before you jump in your car for a quick getaway, don’t forget to give not only your car the once-over but trailers as well.

Trailers sit around for weeks and months without being driven, and then Memorial Day arrives and you hook it up to take off. So be sure to check your trailer tires and while you're at it, just check out your vehicle.

Sometimes you just don't think about car care until it's too late, and a break down right in the middle of summer is the last thing you want.

"Seeing Arizona from the side of the road is not fun," said Howard Fleischmann, who has been in the automotive repair and tire business for decades and has several shops around the Valley.

According to Fleischmann, the average battery life in Arizona is 30 to 36 months.

He also says one of the easiest and most important items to check in the summer is your tire inflation.
Tire failure happens all the time because of the Arizona heat. In fact, a rollover happened recently on Interstate 17 and one person was injured when the vehicle's tire separated, causing the driver to lose control.

"If you look at a tire, it has an air pressure on the outside, but that has nothing to do with your car," Fleischmann said. "What it's saying is don't ever inflate past that number, and if you inflate to that and get out on these hot roads, tire pressure increases as it gets hot. That tire could blow."

Summer also means more long-distance road trips with the family, and while on the road you'll no doubt need air conditioning. If it's not working, how can you tell if the repair might be costly?

Fleischmann said, "What we need to know is if it went out right away. That tells us we're looking at a certain area. If it went out slowly, we're probably looking for a small Freon leak."

Of course, don’t forget to check those belts and hoses. It only takes a moment.

"When it starts going bad, you'll sometimes feel a mushy feeling so it's something to check for if you're checking yourself. That's one of the first things your shop will check, too." Fleischmann said. "It's like a battery. Three years, 36,000 miles start thinking about belts and hoses and at least paying attention to them."