There is no doubt that July is hot almost anywhere you live. The recent heat wave that enveloped much of the nation on the 4th of July weekend is painful to humans as well as cars.
A daily trip for us is traveling more than the 4,500 foot "Grapevine" that separates Southern California from Central California. It is so common that our chauffeurs routinely see limousines pulled over with the hood up and steam flying out of the engine compartment. Well, sometimes it is other limousines and sometimes it is us on the side of the road as was the case on Saturday.
In the past week, there were two different times that my car reported the outside temperature at 114 degrees and 117 degrees here in Bakersfield. That's hot! The heat has an effect on the A/C systems, alternators, batteries and radiators.
In a business that is supposed to be the lap of luxury, we sometimes find ourselves sweating like pigs and watching our clients sweat like pigs as they wait for a "rescue vehicle.” On Sunday night, we had a vehicle start heading up the Grapevine for an LAX pickup. Fortunately, since we've been making this trip for 23 years, our chauffeur left way early. Sure enough, the vehicle overheated. We immediately dispatched our on-call chauffeur with another vehicle.
Upon delivering the fresh car, he was left with a car that was sufficiently cooled down to return home. Wouldn't you know, the “rescue car” overheated again, leaving the chauffeur on the side of the road for a second time? Obviously, we did not have a second on-call chauffeur on a Sunday so the chauffeur with the first overheated limo turned around and headed to LAX for the pickup. Somewhere along the way, the chauffeurs switched cars again. It is not from a lack of maintenance. It is an unforgiving, blistering hill to climb — so much so that a competitor in my city recently told a client they will no longer perform service at LAX from June 1 to Aug. 30. I landed a new client as a result, but after a day like Sunday, I have to ask myself if I should follow suit.
When you are working a funeral of course people getting in the car expect it to be nice and chilly, but when the outside temperature is 112 degrees, it is hard to keep anything chilly. We even pop the hoods slightly when forced to idle for a long time to allow more air circulation in the engine compartment, but it just seems like an impossible mission to keep cool in the summer.
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
Limousines might be good for weddings, but prove troublesome for popping the question.
Driving Gem: Do you know the size of your vehicle's sail area?
Mini-Series Part 1: A trailer park, curses, a tumbler of vodka, and a pack of beauties. Could anything go right about this trip?
Your fleet vehicle electrical systems depend on optimally running alternators. When an alternator fails, you'll be left on the side of the road.
A dangerous five-point U-turn, lack of local knowledge, and requests for directions ruined an evening limo run.