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Friends helping friends - we're here for you!  Below are tech tidbits for all generations (and many will even work with non-Corvette vehicles).  Do you have a safety, repair, maintenance or car care tip you'd like to share?  Click HERE to submit your contribution.

Microfiber Care:  Many of us spend significant time keeping our Corvettes (and daily drivers!) spotlessly clean.  One major component for this care is the microfiber cloth or towel.  They come in many colors, textures and weaves, and are used on almost every surface on and in the vehicle - especially the paint.  To help keep the paint as flawless as possible, extra attention should be paid to the various cloths before they touch the car.  When fresh from the package, inspect each cloth closely for foreign debris, such as cardboard fibers, bits of plastic and tags.  Remove all such debris, or if extensive, relegate the cloth to maintenance duty (such as oil changes or applying tire dressing).  The slightest bit of debris could lead to those dreaded swirl marks or even deeper scratches.

Once a microfiber cloth is used, don't re-use it for a different task until it's been washed thoroughly.  Likewise, it's a good idea to use a given cloth for the same task each time, such as for detailing wheels or glass.  The various surfaces on the car tend to collect distinctive dirts, and it's always a good idea to keep brake dust or bug bits isolated to wheels or windows.  With the wide variety of colors, it's pretty easy to dedicate a particular color cloth to a particular task.  The more nasty crud you keep from the paint the better!  MOST IMPORTANT: If you drop a cloth on the driveway or garage floor while working, DO NOT CONTINUE TO USE IT!  A microfiber cloth is designed to pick up dirt & debris efficiently, and it's guaranteed to pick up anything on the ground.  The last thing you want is for it to pick up a bit of wood or sand right before you buff the paint.  Either toss the cloth or relegate it to maintenance duty.  It's way less expensive to buy a few more cloths than have to repaint a portion of your Corvette!  Once you're finished using a cloth, don't just set it on the workbench or table.  Place them in a sturdy plastic container, with a lid.  This will help reduce the chance of debis falling on them or getting picked up by them, as well as make it easy to transport them for cleaning.

Okay, so now your Corvette is spotlessly clean, and you have a pile of dirty microfiber cloths.  Be sure to wash them by themselves - you don't want cleaning chemicals getting in with your clothes!  Also, to help ensure the microfiber cloths do the best job possible as long as possilble, DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENERS!  They will clog up the tiny channels in the fibers that are intended to pick up dirt and hold it, and will cause all kinds of grief in paint swirls and streaks.  Also, if at all possible, wash with softened water to minimize mineral build-up in the fibers.  A good idea is to invest a little money in cleaners specially formulated for automotive microfiber cloths.  A number of retailers carry them.  These will help keep your microfiber cloths at their best for a long time.  -  Steve Doak

Cooling Clean-up:  Is your Corvette's engine running a little warm?  Is your A/C not quite keeping up?  For many, this brings to mind expensive repairs. However, for owners of the so-called "bottom breather" Corvettes, it may just require a little extra effort in cleaning.  The C4 (1984-1996) and C5 (1997-2004) Corvettes do not have forward facing grill openings - they obtain cooling air from underneath the nose.  Because of this and the orientation of the radiator, these cars can easily accumulate leaves, paper and other light road debris across the front of the radiator and A/C condenser.  In most cases, it's a very easy fix.  Simply elevate the front of the cars with jacks stands or ramps, crawl under the nose and with gloved hand pull the built-up leaves etc. out.  Take your time, don't be aggressive, as the radiator fins are very easily bent.  Once you have the bulk of the debris removed, take a garden hose or air compressor and from the top of the engine compartment blow forward through the radiator, flushing any remaining debris out.  If you use a hose, don't put any sprayer nozzle on, just use the flow straight from the hose.  Keep the water pressure low.  If you use an air compressor, be very careful. Do NOT use a typical high-pressure blow gun, use a low pressure unit.  Also keep the line pressure very low.  Both water and air at high pressure have the potential to bend radiator fins or even punch holes in the thin aluminum - then you WILL have an expensive repair!

Once your radiator is clear of debris, there is an additional step you can take to prevent debris built-up going forward.  There are aftermarket screens designed specifically to address this issue, and they are a relatively inexpensive ($60-$70).  They are also easy to install from underneath.

Generally, the C1-C3 and C6-C7 Corvettes don't have the same problem, as they are all front breathers, and have much larger grill opeings.  However, the C7 does have a couple of potential points to address.  For those who have coupes with automatic transmissions, the Z51 package, or Grand Sports or Z06s, there are a pair of vents on top of the rear fenders.  Some Corvettes have these vents blocked off as they are not equipped with extra heat exchangers, but many will have these open and functional.  If your Corvette tends to sit outdoors for any length of time, be it at work, in the driveway, etc., it is possible for smaller leaves, paper bits, or other debris to enter the ductwork.  This can gradually accumulate at the bottom against the heat exchanger, and possibly cause reduction of cooling efficiency, or in extreme cases, block it entirely.  There is a small gap between the end of the duct and the face of the radiators, so in most cases, simply flushing the duct out every time you wash your car by hand should take care of it.  In more extreme situations (say, you park near maple trees in the spring or locust trees in the fall), you may want to crawl under the rear of the car, and check to see if there is any build-up at the base of the duct.  Cautiously working a flat tool back and forth should clear the worst, follow with a flush from the intake vents.  Automatic non-Z51 cars will have only one functional vent, all Z51s, GSs and Z06s will have one on each side.  Convertibles do have the same heat exchangere options, but as they do not have top-mounted intake vents, the potential for debris accumulation is very low.

A little "elbow grease" can in this case go a long way to restoring your Corvette's intended cooling capacity.  Of course, there is always the chance of bigger issues, but certainly check for this first.  If you're not ready to tackle the task yourself, contact one of our more tech-savvy member or our sponsor, Lou Fusz Chevrolet - we're here to help!

Corvette Tires:  With winter hard upon us, there are a few things to remember regarding your Corvette's tires.  First, even if you do not drive your Corvette over the winter months, it's a good idea to periodically check the tire pressure.  For every 10 degrees in temperature drop, your pressure will drop about one pound.  Also, even new tires will gradually lose air over time, as molecules of oxygen and nitrogen slowly work their way through the rubber.  Periodically checking and adjusting the pressure will ensure your Corvette is ready to go when that warm spell hits and you have the itch to go for a drive.

On a similar note, be aware of the outdoor temperature, and how it relates to the type of tires currently installed on your car.  Corvettes for many years have been factory-equipped with high performance summer tires.  If your car still has summer-only tires, avoid driving the car if outside temps are below 40 degrees F, and never below freezing.  The rubber compounds in these types of tires will harden in cold weather, to the point you have little traction when you need it most.  They are especially hazardous if there is any moisture, frost or snow on the pavement.  If you intend to drive your Corvette in the winter on those deceptively sunny days, do yourself a favor and invest in a set of all-season tires.  They are available from several manufacturers in sizes for virtually all Corvettes (well, except for 2015 & up Z06s and Grand Sports - but snow tires are available for you!).  The use of summer-only tires in the winter is critical enough that GM has issued a bulletin to all Corvette owners - in summary they state that those factory-equipped with Michelin Super Sport tires cannot drive on them below 40 degrees F, and those factory-equipped with the even softer Michelin Cup tires (Z07 package) cannot drive on them below 50 degrees F.  Failure to heed this can result in cracking of the rubber along the sidewalls and treads (ruining the tires even if they don't end up leaking), and WILL NOT BE COVERED UNDER WARRANTY.

Electric Door Latches: With the introduction of the 2005 C6 Corvette a major change was made to the way the doors are opened from the interior of the car. Instead of a mechanical lever to pull, there is now only a small button to press on each door panel.  The latch mechanism itself is actually now on the body of the car with the striker on the door.  This is great for conserving space on the panel, and allows for more features, larger speakers, etc. but does have one small aspect to be aware of: the button will not open the door if the battery is dead or the actuator fails!  But fear not, Chevrolet did think about this and has provided emergency back-up releases for each door.  These are large plastic levers located on the floor just in front of each seat, near the sill, and is labeled with a door open pictogram.  If the electric system fails for any reason, simply pull up on the release lever to open the door.  Please note that with dead battery conditions, extra effort may be needed to push the door open, as the automatic window indexing will likely not function as well.

We encourage all owners of 2005 and newer C6 & C7 Corvettes to familiarize yourself with the location and function of these emergency release levers, and to point them out to others who may not be aware of the levers and their importance.  With extremes of summer heat and winter cold, knowing this tech tidbit may just save a life!


Personal Radios:  These are small, easily handled two-way radios and are sometimes called walkie-talkies.  We use these radios at many of our events, including autocrosses, road runs and car shows.  Why, should I get a pair? you might ask.  They make communications considerably easier between members at our events, without the need to call using your cell phone.  A recent road trip emphasized the usefulness of the radios: one car in the caravan was inadvertently separated from the rest of the group.  This car did not have a radio with them, and their phones did not have cell reception, making communication with the remainder of the group impossible.  At the same time, the group attempted to contact the missing car with no success. Several people had cell reception, but no phone number, others had the number but no reception. And still others also did not have radios and were in the dark as to why the caravan had to stop and regroup.  Had each car had a personal radio onboard, a lot of concern and stress could have been avoided.

Many members already own a couple, and we encourage all members to pick up a pair for use both during club events and for personal needs.  There are many brands, such as Cobra, Midland, and Motorola, and they can be found for reasonable prices at stores such as Bass Pro Shops, Cabella's, WalMart and Target, as well as online, and there are many versions for under $75 per pair.  They can be designed from quite basic to rather well equipped.  Some offer rechargable battery packs, built-in weather radios, emergency flashlights and other useful functions.  I suggest getting the best ones you can afford, as they will generally have clearer signals, longer range, and will last a long time.  Pick a set that have the usual main channels, as well as the sub-channels.  BTCC generally uses channel 5.6 (or 5.06) but will sometimes need to switch channels for various reasons.  Once you purchase a set, take the time to become familiar in their use.  One common mistake many people make is to push the "talk" button as they begin to speak.  However, you actually need to push the "talk" button then pause for a moment before speaking, or else your first word will be cut off.

One final thought - once you have the radios, get in the habit of actually bringing them with you to club events!  We're all guilty of forgetting them once in a while, and if members bring both, then a few extra units will be on hand to lend to those who forget theirs or haven't yet picked up a set.