The Original Winter Texan

Winter Texans Hen and Olga returned to their Valley home last November to the car they’d left behind over the summer with an out-of-date safety sticker, a flat tire and a couple of brackish brown and red puddles of fluid under the vehicle. What’s more, the darn thing wouldn’t start. Scenarios like these can be avoided when a few small things are done on your car prior to leaving the Valley and heading for your “summer home.”

1. Have your radiator flushed and add new anti-freeze. Have your brake and power steering fluids topped along with your windshield washer fluid. Have your oil changed too.

2. Have your battery checked and get the cables and terminals cleaned. Most auto centers will do this for no charge to you.

3. Fix any and all leaks. Like rattles, leaks will only get worse in the hot summer as seals and gaskets dry up and shrink. These won’t reseal when hot fluids return in normal winter driving.

4. Fill your gas tank only half full. Gas will become stale in the heat when a car is mostly idle.

5. Inflate all the tires, including the spare, with five more pounds than what’s listed on the driver’s side doorjam. Tires will slowly leak and lose air over the summer.

6. Grease the windshield wipers with vasoline or oil from the extra quart of motor oil you should be already carrying in your trunk, along with a rag and a funnel.

7. Remove all excess weight from the trunk like dead batteries, old tires and that spare set of golf clubs.

8. Park the car under an awning, if possible and crack open a window on each side of the car for cross ventilation.

9. Before locking the car and setting the parking brake, turn off all accessories like the air conditioner, cell phone charger and radio.

10. Make sure the safety sticker (that’s the bottom one) will not expire over the summer. If it will, renew it before you leave.

11. Leave the current insurance, vehicle registration and lock tool for your tires in your glove compartment.

12. Finally, have a good friend who lives year-round in your park drive your car weekly. Have that person drive it to the grocery store as well as at the maximum speed limit on the expressway. Don’t forget to leave both your ignition and trunk key with that friend.

This article was provided to The Original Winter Texan by Ben Abbitt, onsite owner/manager of RGV All Tune and Lube, 617 North McColl Rd., McAllen. Call 686-8863 for more information.