Sparks of Destruction . . .

We’ve talked previously about winter car maintenance but did you know you should do car maintenance to prepare for summer too?

It is starting to look like we might just dry out out eventually this year which means that our district is ramping up to go into fire season – whether or not it’s been officially declared yet or not! We know you’ve already been working in the garden on your defensible space so let’s talk car maintenance for fire season!

Hundreds of brush fires start every year alongside the road. But we can all do our part to help reduce that number!

While performing maintenance:

  • Do basic maintenance. Get regular oil changes and complete maintenance checks. Take your car in to be inspected if something doesn’t sound or feel right or any of the warning lights come on. Have your car fixed if the engine misfires.
  • Check that no part of your car is dragging on the ground or in danger of dragging on the ground. Be particularly mindful of the catalytic converter, muffler, and exhaust pipe. Dragging metal creates sparks!
  • Check your tire pressure. Exposed wheel rims creates sparks!
  • Check your brakes. When your brakes get too thin, on top of increasing your chances of being in a car accident, it can cause metal to metal contact. Metal to metal contact creates sparks!
  • Have your catalytic converter checked to ensure that it is functioning properly, in good condition, and not clogged.
  • Check that nothing is leaking. Aside from pure water, most of the fluids in your car – from the gasoline to the power steering fluid – are combustible. They catch fire and burn easily. Combine that with dry vegetation, perhaps a car system that’s working a little bit too hard . . .
  • Now’s a great time to add a fire extinguisher to your car’s emergency kit! Make sure you know how to use it and store it properly as well!

While driving:

  • Do not drive or park on or too close to dry grass or brush! Your car has a lot of hot parts underneath it, like the muffler and the exhaust pipe that could cause a fire.
  • Use the proper safety pins and hitch ball to secure chains while towing. Do NOT substitute parts or jerry-rig! Think about wrapping chains in a fire resistant material. And every time you stop your vehicle, check to make sure that your chains are still secured up off the road. Dragging chains or other metal parts create sparks that could leave a wildfire behind you.

Here’s a 4 x 9 card you can print up to remind yourself what to look for when performing your yearly summer-prep car maintenance! And this spring, remember! Prepare yourself and your family. Prepare your pets and livestock. Prepare your home. Prepare your yard. Prepare your car. Prepare early and ALWAYS listen to your evacuation orders!

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