THOUSAND PALMS, Cali. - The summer season is still more than a month away but motorists are already starting to feel the heat, especially during the last few days.
Sergio Ceballos has been a mechanic for 15 years, so it doesn't surprise him when people rush in with problems after the years first few heat waves.
The big issues pushing people to rush to auto shops?
"Why they're overheating or why the AC is not working you know during the winter time you don't use the AC so when you turn it back on, it's not working you're wondering why it isn't," Sergio says.
Summer in the desert means extreme conditions. Conditions some auto parts can't handle, at least not for extended stretches of time.
Taking a few preventative steps can help you avoid spending hours on the side of the road, something Cecilia Kregl hoped to avoid.
We met up with Cecilia on the shoulder of I-10 where her car was stranded. She told us, "I take my cars to the mechanic so they can check the air conditioning and if they need anything you know, for the summer because we have very hot weather is the desert here.
Batteries wear out faster in the heat and the tread on your tires can disappear quickly.
Sergio, who works at Sergio's Automotive in Thousand Palms, explains. "Because it's rubber and what people don't normally see is the air in the tire actually expands more when the heat gets more. And on the asphalt in the freeway it's a little hotter than normal because you're getting all those cars going by all the time. Friction and friction produces even more heat."
So how do you check your tread to see if it's too low?
"The best idea if you don't have any kind of tool is to always put an Abe Lincoln, a penny," Sergio says. "And if it's above the Abe Lincoln head you're alright, once it's below usually that's where it is, sometimes there's indicator wear marks on the tire themselves."
Most mechanics recommend a full vehicle inspection. Wiper blades need to be replaced if they're starting to crack, and air conditioners do give out, but Sergio says they aren't the most common issues.
"Overheating. More overheating problems than anything."
Check all the fluid levels in your car and a special tip for summer here, mix half coolant and half water.
Sergio says, "So you put it in there and it's just pure coolant it'll be hot. If you put the water it helps dissipate the heat and helps ventilate."
Sergio also told us the heat can make your oil lose its fluidity, so you may need to switch to a different weight.
The good news is many shops offer vehicle inspections with an oil change, so you can make sure you're caught up on maintenance for the coming months.
Last but not least even though gas prices are on the rise, don't forget to fill your tank. or you may be taking a long hot walk to the nearest exit.
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