Summer Auto Care in Omaha, NE – 2019
Last month, Nebraska endured what has ironically been described as its “fifth season,” with the temperatures seeming to switch from summer to winter from week to week. As the temperatures are finally becoming consistently warm, the season for summer road trips is right around the bend! No complaints here. However, even though the snow is gone (knock on wood), there are still seasonal car problems created by the intense summer heat that can be just as threatening as the winter. We asked Omaha auto experts for their perspective on how to keep you and your car safe when the sun is making you feel like you are baking.
Specializing in diesel performance and big rigs, DPC Unlimited’s owner Cody Simons has loved cars and trucks since childhood. We asked Cody about the problems extreme heat can create for diesel drivers. “Overheating your engine for one,” Cody began. “There are several possible causes of an overheated engine, but one cause that is easier to fix is to keep the cooling fins of the radiator clean and clear of bugs and debris. Using a pressure washer or compressed air if it’s not bad will blow all the junk out, but the best thing is to make sure all the fluids are filled to the proper level and the cooling fans are functioning correctly. “
In addition to caring for their vehicle, Cody also hopes truckers take care of themselves during the sweltering heat on the road. “Long-time truckers can get a tan on just their left side from exposure to the sun. If you don’t like sunscreen, a shirt with sleeves or a hat can keep the sun off you. Stay hydrated and look out for summer vacationers on the road. The highway gets busier during this time of year,” he added.
In addition to providing performance parts and tuning to improve diesel performance, DPC Unlimited also offers custom items to make a truck look good for the long summer drives. “We specialize in all chrome or truck accessory needs, and we offer the diesel performance parts and tuning required for big rigs and light-duty pickups to perform their best on the road and off,” Cody said.
DPC Unlimited has a variety of products available at their shop, including visors. A properly built semi truck sun visor will keep the sun out of your direct line of vision and can deflect torrential rain to help your view during storms. DPC’s selection includes a wide variety of sizes and styles so you can find the exact one you need for your 18-wheeler.
In addition, DPC carries Cold Air Intakes, which will deliver more air to your engine, turning into efficiency, both in terms of fuel economy, as well as power. Without proper airflow, you end up having excessive fuel in the cylinders, causing heat, possibly even smoke.
There are more thing to consider when it comes to auto care year-round than one would expect. Plus, different cars require different care. This is why we think it’s important to talk to as many professionals as possible.
Dingman’s Collision Center has been a family-owned business in Omaha since 1997. Currently the director of marketing and human resources, Darcie Dingman has gained 22 years of experience, growing up around cars and learning the automotive-related do’s and don’ts to keep a vehicle reliable and running smooth. With all that knowledge, we were eager to hear what Darcie had to say about auto care, specifically in these hot spring-summer months. Darcie explained that one of the best things you can do during the spring when the snow is finally gone is to ensure that your car is protected from long-term rust damage.
“In Nebraska, our spring is somewhat winter, so one thing as far as auto body care goes is to make sure you get a good wash and maybe a good hand wax to get all that salt off and prevent rust. It’s really important to get into those door jams and wheel wells because those are often the hard spots to hit. It’s a little more than what the eye sees on just the outside of the vehicle.”
As a mother, Darcie is also keenly aware of safety for hot summer temperatures. “Parking in the shade or using a reflective surface can keep your car from turning into an oven. You can also keep the windows open just a crack. Of course, never leave children or pets unattended in a car, because the trapped heat can reach deadly temperatures, but it always helps to have your car as cool as possible when you come back to it.”
Summer can also put additional stress on your air conditioning system. “Air conditioning systems tend to fail when you need them most, not when it’s a perfect day outside. A blown fuse or a problem with the air conditioner’s motor are common causes,” Darcie pointed out.
Vehicles are constantly changing. The amount of technology in vehicles is incredible, and because of all the technology, repairs have changed as well. It is important to find a shop that has ongoing training, as well as access to all vehicle manufacturer repair procedures.
“In addition to specializing in collision repair, we’ve also expanded into mechanical repair in recent years,” Darcie informed us. “We are proud of our reputation for auto body repair and our complete auto repair can help retain the value of your vehicle.”
It is Dingman’s commitment to ensure that all damage is repaired according to manufacturer specifications so that the safety is put back into the vehicle. Dingman’s Collision Center wants to be your choice for auto body repair.
In addition to an uncomfortable interior, extreme heat can also increase the danger of a tire blowout. A tire’s pressure is affected by heat. During the winter, you might have noticed you needed to fill your tires more often because the cold was decreasing your tire’s PSI. For the summer it’s the opposite. Use a tire pressure gauge to determine if your tires have become overinflated. Touch your tires to see if they feel noticeably hot. Apart from replacing worn tires, one of the best things you can do is stay within the speed limit on the highway. You don’t want your tires over inflated or under inflated, so you want to check your tire pressure in a place with moderate temperature, like a cool garage, to find the actual tire pressure there.
We went on to hear even more about this and other safety concerns for drivers during the summer from Mark Griger. As the owner of Fleetmark Solutions, Mark strives to provide trustworthy service, specializing in commercial vehicle repair.
Mark also stressed the danger of tire blowouts, informing us that May to October is known as “blowout season” because so many underinflated tires blowout from the heat. “Although blowouts due to underinflated tires can happen any time of year, it’s the combination of heat and underinflation that makes tires especially prone to mishap during summer,” said Mark.
He touched on another important reminder as well: “For the summer, one of the most important things people forget to check is their coolant,” Mark noted. “The coolant gradually gets mixed with rust and contaminants as it’s used. If the coolant isn’t periodically drained and replaced, it will corrode the system, and if your engine overheats, it can leave you stranded. Both extreme cold and extreme heat is what puts pressure on your coolant system, so it tends to fail on the worst day possible for it to fail.”
For families making long road trips during the summer, Mark offered some practical advice: “Have a map. If your GPS device dies on you (phones are known to run out of battery life faster when exposed to high temperatures), you don’t want to be clueless about where you are. If you do a lot of highway driving, there can be long stretches without a gas station. Fill up frequently. No one wants to take a long walk to the gas station you passed by earlier with the sun beating on you. Apart from practical things like that, having a mechanic you trust is the most important advice I can give.”
A summer trip can turn from a rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime experience to a disaster leaving you stranded on the highway if your car isn’t taken care of. Invest in a tire pressure gauge, a spare tire, and the tools to change a flat or blown tire, and have more than one means of contact if you get stranded.
Not only should you stay hydrated and out of the sun to beat high temperatures, your car is also affected by the heat and a trip to a trustworthy mechanic should be a must before any long road trips.
Whether you are someone who is a car buff or someone who isn’t sure how to change your oil, don’t take a summer road trip without preparing for the extreme heat and keep your car protected from weather-related trouble.