Summer Driving Tips to MotoristsPHILADELPHIA--May 2, 20055, 2005--With Memorial Day -- the unofficial start of the summer travel season -- just around the corner, motorists should take interest in the condition and reliability of their vehicle. The Pep Boys -- Manny, Moe & Jack , the nation's leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain, offers drivers useful information to prepare themselves and their vehicles for safe, enjoyable summer travel.
As a company committed to public safety and a sponsor of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Pep Boys advocates the safety and well-being of everyone traveling this season. Pep Boys reminds motorists to never leave children or pets in a vehicle unattended, even for a minute. The sun can heat up a parked car very quickly; interior temperatures can soar from 78 to 125 degrees in approximately eight minutes.
Changes in temperature can also affect vehicle functionality. Warmer weather, as well as increased usage during the summer months, can put a strain on vehicles and their systems, making them susceptible to breakdowns.
"Pep Boys recommends motorists seek preventive maintenance inspections and services to make sure their vehicle's mechanical and electrical systems, as well as the brakes, battery and transmission, are able to perform optimally in hot summer driving conditions," said Mark Page, senior vice president of service operations. "A well-maintained vehicle is also an effective way to increase fuel efficiency."
Critical areas and ideas to consider include:
Make automotive maintenance and service a year-round investment. Your vehicle will last longer, and you will gain peace of mind. Pep Boys offers a complete lineup of preventive maintenance packages at various mileage intervals that meet your manufacturers' requirements to keep your vehicle running at its peak. Preventive maintenance is the key to any dependable vehicle.
Air Conditioning System
A well-functioning air conditioning system is essential during hot weather, times of high humidity (such as rainstorms) and during times of high pollution. It is important to have your system checked periodically and have regular maintenance performed to avoid the discomforts of driving without ventilation and to ensure the A/C is working efficiently.
Failures in the cooling system are a major cause of breakdowns during road trips. Be sure to check for leaks in the radiator and heater hoses. Antifreeze increases the boiling point of your coolant and is important to check as well. Flush the cooling system every 24,000 miles or according to the vehicle manufacturers' recommended maintenance schedule.
Engine Drive Belts
Engine drive belts operate important parts attached to the engine, such as the alternator, water pump, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor. These belts should be checked regularly for cracks, dry-rot, glazing, uneven wear and frayed edges. If belts slip or break, it could mean a breakdown, loss of air conditioning, engine overheating or even a loss of steering. If equipped, the condition of the timing belt is also very important, because if this belt breaks, it can cause immediate and potentially expensive internal engine damage.
Tires, Steering & Suspension
Potholes caused by harsh winter weather can take a toll on tires, steering and suspension components and your alignment. So, prior to summer, it is important to check the tires for dangerous sidewall breaks and excessive or uneven tread wear. Pep Boys can perform a free tire air pressure check to catch under- or over-inflation, which can lead to performance and operation problems, as well as safety concerns. When a car pulls to one side while steering or braking, it can be an indication of suspension problems or the need for wheel alignment.
Drivers should have their brakes inspected, including all brake linings, hardware and hydraulics if the last inspection occurred more than 15,000 miles or 12 months ago. The hydraulic system should be assessed for leaks and proper operation. "Sponginess" or "drop" in the brake pedal, a tendency for the car to pull to one side when braking, squealing noises coming from the brakes or a drop in the master cylinder's fluid level all can signify problems.
Have your battery tested, particularly if it is over three years old. Visually inspect the battery to make sure the connections between the cables and terminals are tight and there is no sign of corrosion.
Transmission problems can be bad any time of year - but especially troublesome during long family trips or with your favorite boat or trailer in tow. Erratic shifts or slippage should be examined before more serious troubles arise. A transmission fluid exchange safely removes virtually all of a transmission's old, contaminated fluid, as well as varnish and sludge deposits. It also cleans the transmission's cooler, valve body and torque converter to remove wear metals that slowly grind away your transmission's internal components. This service thoroughly cleans your car's transmission and protects it with fresh automatic transmission fluid and conditioners that revitalize the seals and o-rings.