By Pam Oakes ASE/EET

And, you thought rush-hour gridlock was bad… There is another type of congestion on Tampa Bay roadways, this spring: in-vehicle, allergy suffering.

Keeping the windows up during the daily commute does not mean you are protected from smog and pollen intrusion. No place is safe from their grasp—including your vehicle’s air vent system. But I have got an easy fix you can do, at home. It includes a can of Lysol and a couple of minutes of your time.

While parked in the driveway, start the vehicle (keep the shifter in “park” mode). Set emergency brake. Follow these steps:

1) Locate the air intake vents on your vehicle. Some cars and trucks you will be able to see the duct work between the windshield and the hood of the vehicle. Others, you will have to open the hood. (Keep the hood open as you will need to access this grid.)

2) Turn on the vehicle’s AC system, making sure that it is in the “fresh-air/norm” setting.

3) Exit vehicle. With the can of Lysol in hand, stand next to the intake air vents. Carefully, spray the product into the grid; count to 20.

4) Revisit the climate controller. Move setting from AC to vent.

5) Return to the air intake grid. Repeat step #3.

6) Revisit the climate controller. But, this time, move the setting to heater.

7) Return to the air intake grid. Repeat step #3.

8) Revisit the climate controller. Now, move the setting back to AC (see step #2).

After completing the final sweep, turn-off vehicle. It is that simple!

A few pointers: This treatment is most successful if performed every five to six weeks, with a reasonably clean cabin air filter. If you are unsure of the condition of this passenger filter, ask your ASE certified automotive technician to check.

Then, be like me—sneeze-free when it comes to my vehicle’s climate control air quality.