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As the mercury rises in the Ozarks, people continue to do whatever they can to escape from the excessive temperatures. For many folks, that means relying upon their cars to get them around safely and comfortably. However, hot weather can also have a negative impact upon the vehicles we depend upon. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann spoke with local car experts to learn more about steps for a smooth-riding summer.
Mechanics at Joe’s Tire Shop in Springfield know that good tires are one of the most important safety features that drivers can depend upon. Driving along most highways during the summer months, pieces of blown tires can be found littering the roadside. Joe Childers is manager of Joe’s Tire Shop. He says when tires are not inflated properly, they heat up. When that combines with hot pavement it greatly increases the risk of blow-outs or flats. Childers says that maintaining proper tire pressure, and checking them for wear, is especially important in the summer.
"Mainly just checking to make sure that tires are inflated properly. I can't stress how important it is to go off of what the tire manufacturer recommends. They recommend the amount of air to make the tire do what it is supposed to do, and if you don't go by the tire says, you won't get good wear out of that tire." Childers explains.
Childers strongly urges drivers to follow the tire pressure recommendations found on the actual tire, rather than the suggestions found on the driver’s side door. Childers recommends checking tires at least once a month. He says anything that looks unusual, or strange vibrations while driving, should be checked out by a professional.
Tires are not the only part of the car that drivers need to check during the summer months. Greg Fielder is general manager of Bob’s Automotive in Springfield.
"Well, I can say that all of the sub-systems within an automobile are under stress during the extreme temperatures. Your coolant, or anti-freeze, is your protection for the engine. [It protects] the metal and gaskets within the engine. It [the coolant] is also necessary to keep the car from overheating and running too hot." Fielder said.
Fielder says that transmission fluid degrades in hotter weather, and air conditioners have to work much harder. He recommends checking all engine fluid levels regularly, and to be aware of how the car feels and sounds. Fielder adds that being aware of a car’s needs will go a long way toward preventing a break-down in these hot summer months. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.