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Hoses, Belts and Gears Oh My…

The weather spiked a bit here on the surface of the sun. Predictions are chatting up 90 for the weekend. Yesterday, my brakes slipped a smidge and I actually thought, “Is my car ready for summer?” For those out of the know, Arizona cars are abused by sun, road and oppressive heat in the summer.

While the rest of the country deals with something called snow tires and chains, Arizonans grapple dead batteries, fried cables and all manner of things that sizzle under the sun. I should be proud I’ve settled into single life and responsibility for my wheels. Instead, I wish for The Norwegian to take my car in, get the oil changed and worry about hoses, belts and gears. A new husband may not be worth all the hassle so I call Big Al Heggs, the Duchess Dolls favorite car dealer and guru of all things auto for a list.

Fluids are the big one when it’s hot, and even when it’s not. There’s coolant, brake, windshield and power steering in the fluid show. To check this yourself (why?) you can look at the fluid containers. Instead, when you get the oil changed, they check these for you. And, bonus, if you bought your car at Heggs Auto, oil changes are free for life. Yup.

The battery is the big one. Drivers in Arizona leave the mall, grocery store or movie theater, turn the key and nothing. Nothing–from the very car that took you wherever you are. Batteries die in the heat. It’s a fact of life and the trade we make for sunshine, happiness and the ability to live in The Dale. Oh yeah–you’re also supposed to look for corrosion on the terminals. Those are the little doohickeys where you connect jumper cables–I think. Anyway, any crud there is no bueno. And, of course, if the check engine light comes on, pull in somewhere. Not the country dive bar.

Tires have it rough too. I went for an oil change and watched a bunch of guys, each with his own brand of horrified face, look at my tires and wonder aloud how I arrived in one piece. Evidently, you need to have somebody take a look now and again. I have four new tires and admit to feeling very grown up when I bought them. I’d rather they were shoes or an IRA contribution but I’m going to work ’til I’m dead so no matter.

Another thing is the air filter. Dust and sand are not your friends, giving filters a short life. If your car is slow to accelerate or makes weird noises when idling it could be the air filters. Who knows where these are–another thing that should be on the list with an oil change.

Best advice from a duchess–take it in and have someone who actually knows what they’e looking at do the looking. Three thousand is the mileage between oil changes. Next time, check the bill and see what they’ve done. Missing something? Ask them to take a look. Or, better yet, visit Big Al at Heggs Auto, tell him you’re a Duchess Doll and watch the red carpet roll.

PS: He’s got popcorn and donuts.

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