New Rochelle Roadside Assistance
177 East Main Street, Suite 138, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Nothing puts a halt to a great road trip quite like car trouble. Seeing that annoying orange “check engine” light on the dashboard is a surefire way to put an end to any summer getaway, not to mention the frustration when you’re miles from home. Fortunately, most common breakdowns have symptoms that you can check before ever leaving your driveway. And the five most common ailments for summer drives are easy to fix and easy to prevent, so there’s just no excuse not to take care of them before heading out on what might be the summer getaway of your dreams. Don’t let that dream turn into a nightmare because of a little car trouble.
Evaporative emissions are caused by fuel volatility; or more simply put, its tendency to change from a liquid to a gas. Rises in outside temperatures could cause an increase in pressure to your gas tank, which must then be vented in order to prevent the gas tank from deforming. This increased pressure is vented from your gas tank and into a charcoal canister on the vehicle, which absorbs the fuel vapors and stores them until the engine is started and the vapors are purged. But the entire evaporative system is much more than your gas cap; it’s a network of hoses, valves, and canisters that manage the evaporative emissions from your vehicle. It’s an intricate system akin to the types of systems in the human body. Vehicles today detect leaks at 0.02 inches in diameter. If such a leak is detected, the “check engine” light will come on to alert the driver. Even though a loose gas cap is a common culprit, you can’t go in assuming that that’s going to be your answer. If you’re driving an older vehicle, cracked hoses are another common malady. In the event that you do have a cracked hose, what you’re now looking at is a fuel leak.
Surge Or Hesitation In The Engine:
Engine troubles of this nature may occur from a variety of issues. One of the more common issues is a dirty air filter, which can cause the engine to work much harder than usual, increase fuel consumption, and cause drivability problems. Vehicles in areas facing high levels of heat and humidity are more susceptible to problems with exhaust gas recirculation, which sends a portion of the exhaust back through the engine in order to help reduce emissions. During summer weather, this flow can build up in your intake manifold, causing blockages and drivability problems as well. If not taken care of immediately, it can lead to far more expensive repairs. In the event that you’re preparing for a long trip, definitely make sure that the air filter is clean. If you’re already halfway through a cross-country voyage, or something of that ilk, when these types of issues begin to occur, get yourself to a local repair shop ASAP. I good way to see how bad this problem is or could be is to compare your vehicle’s air intake to a set of human lungs. Anytime there is a blockage that restricts the flow, it causes you, or your engine, to need to work much harder in order to take in the same amount of oxygen. And just like a person, if a car isn’t getting enough air, it will most likely collapse on you.
Perhaps one of the most common of all summer car woes is the issue of overheating. Some of the most common causes for this are faulty cooling systems and low fluid levels. Obviously your vehicle’s cooling system is going to have to work harder to prevent the engine from overheating. This is also perhaps the easiest car problem to cure, especially before it happens. All you need to do is provide your car with a regular check of fluids; like engine coolant, brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, washer fluid, and engine oil. You certainly don’t want to wait for your dashboard warning lights to come on or you find yourself pulled to the side of the road with a steaming hood and probably a steaming temper. If you do find yourself in this kind of situation, turn off the AC and turn on the heat. Sure, it’s going to turn your car into a sauna, but it can remove heat from the engine and use the additional fans to cool down your engine until you and your car can make it to safety.
Flat Tire Or Blowout:
You see it all the time in movies; a family road trip that goes downhill fast when the family is left stranded by a flat tire or a blowout. In the end, they have some sort of quirky adventure and they’re all much closer because of it. Unfortunately, most flat tires don’t cause any sort of adventure, they just leave you stranded in the heat and furious. Flat tires can be caused by normal wear and tear or by overinflation, most common in summer when air pressure is increased by the heat. Some of the newer model vehicles on the market have tire-pressure monitoring systems, but most cars on the road are not equipped with the computer systems needed to detect these types of issues. But a simple tire gauge will do the job just as well, letting you know in just a few seconds whether you need to put air in or let air out of your tires. Most service stations offer a gauge on the air pump, but veterans of the annual road trip probably have one in their vehicle already. If you’re unsure of the proper tire inflation levels for your vehicle, refer to your owner’s manual or the label inside of the driver’s door.
Car batteries are notorious for never signaling imminent failure and for giving out at the most inopportune of times. Believe it or not, hot summer months are the worst conditions for your battery, not freezing winter temperatures. Make sure that your battery has all of the plastic pieces that house it. These pieces are specially designed to keep your battery cool and divert incoming fresh air across the battery in order to extend life. The battery is used primarily for starting the vehicle, so issues with starting are the symptoms you need to look for leading up to total battery failure. Taking too long to start? Better check that battery. For that, all you need is a simple battery tester which plugs into your vehicle’s 12-volt receptacle. A failed or failing battery can and will cause the alternator/generator to work harder to charge it, and will lead to alternator failure if not dealt with quickly. Your best course of action is to take care of the battery while the problem is still JUST the battery. A car battery should normally be replaced every three years as a preventative measure.
Car trouble can strike at the worst of times, often on that long summer road trip you’ve been thinking about all year. While preventative measures are always best, make sure you have the number of your insurance agent on hand, just in case of the worst.