Help Your Car Beat the Heat This Summer

Car on asphalt road in summer

High temperatures can be pretty miserable – they can also be difficult on your car. Engines produce a massive amount of heat; paired with extreme outdoor temperatures, hot summer days can lead to overheating and potentially getting stranded along the roadside.

Fortunately, there are a few tips you can follow to make sure your vehicle stays safe and reliable all season long:

Battery

It’s fairly well-known that batteries are affected by cold winter weather, but did you know the summer heat can be even worse on your battery? When it comes to batteries, heat and vibration are the two leading causes of breakdowns and failure. Although there’s not much you can do to keep your battery cool, you can make sure that the battery is well secured to minimize vibration.

Battery fluid also evaporates faster in high temperatures, which can lead to corrosion on the terminals or connections. Clean off any corrosion as needed. While you’re doing that, it’s also a good idea to check that the cable clamps are tight enough to prevent them from moving around.

Is your battery more than 3 years old? If so, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to find out how much longer it will last. Typically, most car batteries last between 3 – 5 years.

Cooling System

The cooling system in your vehicle is responsible for keeping your car from overheating. To make sure your cooling system is operating as efficiently as possible, it should be flushed periodically according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. To keep it working its best between flushes, check the coolant level occasionally. If it’s too low, top off the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of water and coolant.

Make sure to check which type of coolant your car needs – there are several different types on the market. Use caution when removing the radiator cap, and never remove it when the engine is hot! The pressurized coolant or steam from it can cause severe burns.

While you’re topping off your coolant, it’s also a good idea to inspect the neighboring rubber components for signs of deterioration. Any hoses or drive belts that have cracks, soft spots, or other types of wear should be replaced.

Tires

Driving on underinflated tires is never a good idea, but hot road temperatures can make them even more likely to have a blowout. Tires typically lose about a pound of air pressure per month, so they should be checked monthly, year-round. Don’t forget to check the pressure on your spare, too!

You’ll get the most accurate reading when the tires are cold. If your tires need more air, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s inflation pressure recommendations; these can be found in the owner’s manual or on the tire information label on the door jam. Don’t rely on the tire pressure listed on the tires themselves – they may not be the correct pressure for your specific vehicle.

Fluids

Most of the fluids in your car work the same way: they lubricate the moving parts and they act as a coolant, pulling heat away from the components. When the fluids are low, they aren’t able to keep things cool as well – and decreased lubrication can lead to friction, which generates more heat and increases the possibility of overheating.

All fluids should be checked periodically, including the engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. If any of them are low, top them off using the fluid specified in your owner’s manual.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning definitely makes driving in high temperatures more comfortable, but it also increases your safety by reducing fatigue and preventing heatstroke. If your AC isn’t working as well as it used to, it could be because the refrigerant is low or there could be a leak in the system. Have your AC checked out by a certified technician to determine the cause of the problem. If you have cabin air filters, these should also be inspected and replaced as needed.

Be Prepared for Breakdowns

Routine maintenance can go a long way in keeping your car on the road, but breakdowns can still happen when you least expect them. For this reason, it’s always best to be prepared! All drivers should have an emergency kit in their vehicle, with the following items:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Jumper cables
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • Road flares or an emergency beacon
  • Duct tape
  • Basic hand tools (socket set, screwdriver, pliers, and an adjustable wrench)
  • A first aid kit

The summer heat may be tough on our cars, but with the right maintenance, you can prevent problems and enjoy a happy season of driving!

At Cline Collision Center, we want you to stay safe all summer long! But if you do run into trouble (or trouble runs into you!) bring your car to us. We use OEM parts and factory repair methods to get your vehicle back to its perfect pre-accident condition. Call 707-591-9909 or contact us online!

Parking Dos and Don’ts

Dings. Dents, Scratches. Stains. Fading. Parking anywhere but inside your garage can be rough on the exterior of your car.

But you can’t spend your whole life at home. How do you drive out into the world and worry less about what parking will do to the look and future resale value of your vehicle?

Park farther away

Occupied Parking Lot

Finding that spot right next to the entrance can feel great in the moment, but it can expose you to all sorts of trouble. Every car is jockeying for those close spots, and you will also have more pedestrians and carts squeezing into the narrow spaces between vehicles.

Your best bet is to park farther away and take a nice long walk to the entrance. It will put extra steps on your Fitbit and keep your car from getting banged into by all that car and foot traffic.

Avoid Danger Zones

There are definitely better and worse places to park, and we want to outline a few of the most harmful to your car’s exterior:

  • Trees—It makes sense when you think of it. What lives in trees? Birds. Aside from chirping and flitting about, birds spend a fair amount of time pooping. If your car is parked under a tree, you increase the chances of getting bombed. Bird droppings are acidic and, left unwashed, can damage your paint. There are also sap, seeds, branches, fruit, and other potentially damaging items falling from trees, so avoid parking under them.

  • Playgrounds and athletic fields—Balls flying. Kids running and riding bikes. Parking right next to playgrounds and athletic fields can bring you closer to the action, which is not necessarily a good thing. Park as far away as possible to avoid the hassle and cost of having a foul ball dent in your hood.

  • Parking Garages—Set your sights higher when it comes to parking structures. The top floors, with the farthest walks, are always less crowded and cleaner. You’d think you expose your car to more bird poop on the top floor, but birds often nest in parking lot rafters and can make just as much of a mess of your car on lower floors.

  • Intersections and 4-way stops—Accidents happen, and intersections are the most typical place for a car to get smashed. Don’t make it easy for a distracted driver to plow into your car. Try to find a place where cars aren’t so likely to run into you.

Think before you park

We want your car to look beautiful and hold onto its value, which is why we urge you to think before you park. If your car is damaged, bring it into the pros at Cline Collision Center. We are ASE-certified, have OEM certification from InfinitiNissan, Fiat/Chrysler (FCA), Honda/AcuraFord, Hyundai, and Kia, and have earned Gold Class status from I-CAR. For top-quality workmanship and customer service, including help with navigating insurance challenges, call 707-591-9909 or contact us online today!

Ask George or Abe? How Much Tire Tread is Enough?

Maybe you’ve noticed. The cost of goods and services keeps going up. We’ve noticed, too. Though we do everything we can to keep prices down, there’s one area where inflation isn’t just acceptable. It’s preferable.

The tire tread test.

Close Up Of Tire Tread

We want you to be safe and avoid trouble as much as possible. This means having tires with plenty of tread on them. For years, the recommendation from automotive experts was to use a penny to check tire tread wear. The idea was to hold a penny so that you can see the front of it. With Abe Lincoln upside-down, go ahead and rest the penny in the tread grooves. If you can see honest Abe’s whole head, then you only have 1/16” or less of tread remaining.

For decades, this has been called the Penny Test and signified that it was the time to replace your tires. 

Automotive specialists have been rethinking that rule. It may not be enough in the most critical situations. You need more grip on the road when you have to come to a sudden stop on a rainy day. The latest research shows that on a slick road, 1/16” of an inch might not stop you until it is too late! That’s why we no longer advise you to use a penny.

It’ll cost you a quarter now!

Remember, George Washington didn’t lie about the cherry tree, and he certainly won’t lie about your tires. Run the same test with a quarter. If our first president’s whole head is visible, it means you have less than 1/8 of an inch—and it’s time to get a new set of tires.

Once you get your new tires, be sure to keep them properly inflated. Also, don’t forget to have them rotated every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. We want you and your tires to safely roll down the road for miles and miles.

This doesn’t always happen, though. If you run into trouble, or trouble runs into you, call Cline Collision Center. We will help you navigate insurance and are ASE-certified, with OEM certifications from NissanInfiniti, Fiat/Chrysler (FCA), Honda/AcuraFord, Hyundai, and Kia. We have earned Gold Class status from I-CAR, a designation that lets you know that everyone who touches your car is highly trained and understands new vehicle technologies and repairs. If you value integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship, call 707-591-9909 or contact us online today!

Auto Body Repair

When Bald Isn’t Beautiful

Auto Body Repair | Aging Tires

Going bald is not something most people hope for, but it’s a fact of life for many. Nearly two-thirds of men will experience significant hair loss by the time they’re 50 years old. It is also something that doesn’t have to get in the way of a healthy, happy life.

Unfortunately, the same is not true of bald tires.

Driving on worn down tires is downright dangerous. More than one-quarter of all auto crashes involve at least one car with tires that have treads of less than 1/16 of an inch.

Why Not Tread Lightly?

Your tires are engineered with specifically designed grooves or channels that grasp the surface of the road. They give you the traction you need to get a grip in rain, snow, ice, or mud. Slippery roads are manageable only because these channels force water and slick material away from the surface that contacts the road. Tread also makes sure steering remains stable so that you can avoid trouble in an emergency.

It takes a lot of friction to keep your car connected to the road. This friction causes heat. Tires with low or no tread cause heat buildup that can lead to a blowout. With enough tread, your tires stay cooler by allowing air to flow between the grooves. Further, when you have worn tires, water gets between your tire and the road leading to hydroplaning. Modern tread patterns are great at channeling water away from the tire surface. This can’t happen when there isn’t enough of a channel!

Hey Mister, Got a Quarter?

Regular inspections are a great idea. If you insert a penny into the tread and see the top of Lincoln’s head, you have less than one-sixteenth of an inch and should get new tires now. For those who want to error on the side of increased safety—try the same test, but with a quarter. You have 1/8 of an inch left If you can see the top of Washington’s head. This means you are within the manufacturer’s specs, but there might be some compromise on stopping distance and handling in difficult circumstances.  You should also look for sidewall cracks, bulges or blisters that can develop over time. All of these are serious and require immediate attention! At Cline Collision Center, we know it’s difficult enough to safely navigate your vehicle without making it harder on yourself. We don’t want you to get in an accident because your tires were going bald and needed to be replaced. However, we understand that accidents happen – and we are here for you when they do. Just call 707-591-9909 or contact us online for a full-slate of auto body repair services in Santa Rosa,  including auto detailingdent removal, and exact-match painting