Hey There Hot Stuff! Can Your Car’s AC Beat the Heat?

Summertime! For the past several weeks I have heard from my daughter how excited she is that summer is coming. Our weekends have already been filled with softball games and outside play while the sun stays in the sky longer and longer…and the interior of the car gets hotter and HOTTER! She says to me, “Mommy, I learned a tip today. Turn your steering wheel all the way around so that the bottom is up at the top. That way, when you get in to drive after your truck has been in the sun for a while, you don’t burn your hands!” Okay, first of all she is 8–smart kid. Secondly, it made me think of you, my Automotive Family, and other cool things your car might need to beat the heat this summer.

Cabin Air Filter Comparison

A helpful place to start would be to define how your car’s air condition system works. Refrigerant (current examples would be R134a and R1234y) circulates in a closed system. This closed system works under high and low pressures. Heat and humidity are removed from the passenger compartment. Remaining cooled air is then pushed back into the passenger compartment.

CHANGE YOUR CABIN AIR FILTER

Changing your cabin air filter has so many wonderful benefits. Just saying the words “Cabin Air Filter” should say enough–it filters the air you breathe in the cabin or passenger compartment. I am sure you have seen the pollen collecting on your car and I know I, for one, have had to “up” my allergy meds. Oh, and have you ever turned on the air and had that “what died in here” smell? Well, that is your cabin air filter and I am willing to wager it is at the end of its useful life. When it becomes clogged, air cannot efficiently pass through it, let alone return out of your vents. Changing this filter will not only help you breathe a little easier, the force–or flow of air improves too. For my friends with cooled seats (you lucky dogs) this is also one of the first trouble-shooting steps in diagnosing cooled seat malfunctions.

IS IT ALL IN YOUR HEAD

Your control head, that is. One of the first things my staff and I do is perform a preliminary check to verify where the problem actually lies. We are in the age of multiple “Comfort Zones,” manual HVAC systems, digital displays, ambient temperature sensors, knobs, buttons, switches, IN-CASE-OF-EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS (just kidding).

Climate Control Center

We actually like to verify that your AC system is being electronically requested by the control head. Then, we like to see what the vent temperature is and compare it to the ambient temperature. Next, we check your AC compressor to see if it is seized and perform a quick pressure test. Lastly, we look over your car’s major visual AC components for any noticeable damage or signs of leaks including using a UV light. If a dye has ever been put in your AC system, it will glow at the source of the leak. I would say “kind of cool, right,” but if you are having this test chances are you are a little sweaty–sorry.

The Farmer’s Almanac for Maryland this summer says we are in for a soggy and humid treat. The good news is you do not have to drive in the hot seat. I do have some of the “coolest” team members in the industry (I should stop with the cool puns, I know) and we would love to meet you. I did add some AC specials to my website so feel free to take a look around, get more information or reserve a custom service just for your car.

From my family to yours, have a safe and wonderful summer!

Please visit my website www.aanthonys.com

Maryland State Inspections–What You Should Know Before You Go

As I scrolled through my social media feed, I came across a thread from local woman in our community who was looking for a recommendation of where to take her vehicle for a Maryland State Inspection. She could easily have Googled “Maryland State Inspection Laurel Maryland” and more than 5 million results would pop up!

“About 5,050,000 results (0.77 seconds)”

The fact is, there are approximately 1,600 inspection stations licensed throughout the state with roughly 3,000 Certified Maryland State Inspectors. I love reading who the members in my community recommend and why–I constantly want to improve what our clients receive and it helps to know what is happening right here in our “back yard.” One of the comments on the thread really jumped out and stuck with me. It read “good luck…Maryland safety inspection will steal your money every time.” I could not help but think how sad it is that this is the impression our vehicle safety inspection system has created on the nearly one million commuters it is designed to protect.

That’s right–ONE MILLION COMMUTERS. In 2018, there were 1,037,976 commuters who reside in Maryland AND work in Maryland–so excluding Marylanders who travel to D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania for work that is a vast number of vehicles on the road. On average, approximately 750,000 vehicles are inspected annually. That is not a nationwide statistic. That is right here in Maryland–3,000 inspectors doing their part to help ensure that one million commuters stay safe.

The most common thing I hear from clients when they bring in a vehicle for a Maryland State Inspection is how it was just inspected in another state and passed. What you may not know is vehicle inspections vary at the state level and in some instances at the county level within the state. The Maryland State Inspection program was created and is enforced by the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division of the Maryland State Police. While there are 100 SAFETY POINTS that are inspected, tested and measured, unlike some other states, it is performed only ONE TIME.

Maryland State Inspection Report

I will admit, it is among some of the most stringent processes and when administered correctly you can rest assured that your vehicle is safe to be on the road. Once certified, you not only should have peace of mind, you have also improved the resale value of the vehicle too–a Maryland State Inspected vehicle tends to look more attractive to a buyer than one that is offered “AS-IS.”

After achieving your certification, the Maryland Automotive Safety Enforcement Division believes it is up to you, the vehicle owner and motorist, to maintain your vehicle in a safe operating condition. That, my friends, is why you only have to perform our rigorous inspection one time. Should a police officer (local, county or state) feel that your vehicle poses a risk while on the road, you will be pulled over and given a S.E.R.O., or a Safety Equipment Repair Order. With so many vehicles on the road, this system allows Maryland to have a robust inspection program and a way to maintain those standards without putting its citizens through such a tedious process every one or two years like many other states.

Did you know that Maryland State Inspections are tech-savvy? In June 2014 electronic inspections were launched in an effort to streamline the inspection and MVA registration and license plate processes. Maryland State Inspectors can now perform inspections electronically as well as submit the inspection report and certification instantly to the MVA. Like any system, it has pros and cons. I, personally am a huge fan of the electronic inspection system especially since I prefer to operate under the three Cs–Good for the Client, Good for the Car and Good for the Company. My client receives a Maryland State Inspection report in their email inbox instantly, as does the MVA. The certificate is electronic as well and my client has the option of entering the certificate information in a kiosk at the MVA which could eliminate long lines and shorten wait times. Secondly, performing the Maryland State Inspections electronically has reduced fraud on a state-wide level. A vehicle can go from station to station and inspection reports can be compared by the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division immediately if need be. Finally, the electronic Maryland State Inspection process has reduced paperwork–less paper inspection reports and paper certificates. PLUS, if my client ever needs another copy of their report or electronic certificate, it can be emailed within a matter of minutes!

You are probably thinking, great–thanks for all of the statistics…but I shared this information with you for many reasons. For my clients, I represent many things from a customer service representative that addresses your concerns and needs to a vehicle care specialist that makes recommendations for repairs, service and maintenance to keep your vehicle safe, dependable, enhance your vehicle performance, and extend its life expectancy–and so much more. However, as a Maryland State Inspector, I am an agent of the State and I am responsible for meeting the rules and regulations that the State of Maryland has outlined. My clients know (and our Google Reviews show it!) that taking care of them is what matters. I want to set an expectation with you. I want you to know that going into the Maryland State Inspection process, while a big deal, is not as hard as it seems. I am not out to “steal your money.” I identify any areas of concern that may be deemed unsafe. I give you the information you need so your vehicle may pass inspection. More than that, this is your vehicle and you are my client–I am committed to informing you of the best way to maintain, service and repair your vehicle which will exceed the standards that Maryland has mandated. For what you invest in your vehicle and count on it to do for you, you deserve no less…right?

Even with all of this being said, inspectors are human–we are not all-knowing and infallible. I use my inspection book all of the time to ensure that what I pass or fail fits within the definitions and guidelines. I report to a Maryland State Trooper, or T.I., to ensure quality control. Each Maryland State Inspection is performed the same way, every time for consistency and accountability. My clients deserve the best and so should you.

For more information, please visit my website: www.aanthonys.com