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Proper care keeps cars rolling

Kelly Jacobs of New Hebron said he always leaves the windowscracked on his Ford F-250 in the summer, not just to keep down theheat for himself, but also for his beloved truck.

“I’m afraid if it gets too hot in there, things will start tocrack, like the seats and dashboard,” he said. “Also it’s not coolto open up the door and it feels like it’s 300 or 400 degrees inthere.”

Jacobs is right on that count, mechanics say, and there areother things a driver can do to treat his vehicle right in thesummer as well.

“If you can buy one of those visors for the inside of the car,that helps a lot,” said Zetus Automotive mechanic Billy Price. “Ifpossible, you need to leave the windows cracked to keep the aircirculating, or leave it in a garage when you can. It keeps thedash and things from cracking.”

City Sanitation Department Director Willie Smith said he makessure that his fleet of vehicles follow a rigorous check regularly,but especially when summer rolls around.

“You’ve got to keep your tires inflated and keep your coolantfilled, and make sure your air filter is clean,” he said.

And the dash is not the only thing that might crack if the airdoesn’t circulate and the vehicle gets too hot, he said.

“If you’ve got little cracks, they’ll cross your windshield,” hesaid. “You have to leave the windows cracked a little so the aircan circulate.”

Other things can play a vital role in car care, as Anna Suttonof Brookhaven learned the hard way.

“My car overheated two summers ago, and it was not fun,” shesaid. “I was lucky I had my cell phone to call my dad because itgot hot out in the middle of nowhere on Highway 84, and steamstarted coming out and stuff.”

Peterbilt mechanic Adam Wallace of Bogue Chitto said drivers canwatch the temperature of their vehicle and prevent majorproblems.

“Watch your water temperature, make sure it’s not trying to runhot,” he said. “If it does, pull over and kill it and let it cooldown.”

Retired mechanic Bobby Bell of Terry said vehicles of all sizeswill overheat if they’re not properly cared for.

“The summer is the most important time to make sure you’ve gotyour auto in order,” he said. “They’ll get hot anyway, then you addthat sun and that southern climate and you’ve got a problem on yourhands.”

Price agreed.

“A lot of people run into problems with overheating,” he said.”Your antifreeze plays an important part in the summer just like itdoes in the winter.”

Another area some people don’t think to have checked in thesummer is the tires, as not only the heat of the sun, but the heaton the roads, can provide additional wear and tear.

“The heat is hard on your tires, but you also have to replaceyour wipers more,” he said. “They’ll get hard and stick to yourwindshield. They’ll go quick.”

Other important areas mechanics said to have checked includewater pumps, radiators, fan motors and air conditionercompressors.

“It’ll get your AC if you’re not careful,” Bell said. “You’vegotta keep that Freon filled.”

Wallace said sometimes the air conditioner is actually doing itswork, but extreme heat can override even a good AC sometimes.

“When it’s 110 outside, your air can be cooling but it doesn’tfeel like it because it’s so hot outside,” he said.

Nick Adams of Brookhaven said he made certain his teenagedaughter knows how to put water in her radiator, and that shecarries a jug in the trunk of her car.

“You never know when you’re going to need it,” he said. “I can’tbe with her all the time.”