Ask The Expert

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I have not used my car’s air conditioning all winter and now it seems to not cool as well as it did last summer, what could be the problem?  Jennifer from Linden

Jennifer the good news is that the condition you describe is probably not serious. Your car’s air conditioning system contains refrigerant that carries a small percentage of lubricant to keep components in the compressor oiled and reduce friction on moving parts. Another job that this lubricant performs is to keep seals through the air conditioning system from drying out and allowing refrigerant to escape. Not using your air conditioning throughout the winter months combined with extremely cold temperatures can allow those seals to harden and shrink, when that happens it is possible to loose some of the refrigerant in the system. This happens more frequently on older models, but any vehicle can experience the condition. Having the air conditioning system on your vehicle serviced and the refrigerant replenished will likely return the unit to normal operation and you will stay cool throughout the coming summer months.

I have friends who change tires on their vehicles between winter and summer; I keep the same tires on my car year round. Is there anything I should do to my tires between winter and summer?  Anika from Flint

Many drivers change tires for winter to give them better traction in the snow; this is really a personal preference often dependent on the type of vehicle and driving style of the vehicle owner. Tire manufactures produce quality all season tires that perform well under all weather conditions. However, winter driving is especially rough on tires as well as vehicle suspension and steering components. Potholes, rough pavement, ruts on non-paved roads, and the occasional slide on ice into a curb are common winter hazards that can damage a tire or knock a vehicle out of proper alignment. It is a good idea to have your vehicle’s tires inspected during regular maintenance services, checking for bulges on sidewalls, cracks in the tread or other signs of damage. After winter is a great time to do an annual wheel alignment to make sure your car is tracking properly and that steering/suspension components are not worn or damaged. Driving a vehicle that is out of alignment can damage tires and necessitate premature replacement. Also, make sure you rotate your tires, at least, every 7,500 miles to keep wear patterns consistent front to rear.

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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of NASCAR and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at thelascopress.com with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.