Summer Road Trip Vehicle Preparation
Brought to you by Car Care Council
Deep down, you know your car should be checked out before hitting the road for a summer road trip, but with so many other things left to do, some folks put it off. Bad idea, says the Car Care Council, especially when motorists realize that in as little as 10 minutes, they can determine if their car is ready for long-distance travel.
The 10-minute pre-trip checkup recommended by the council includes the following:
Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.
Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
“In a very short amount of time, motorists can identify how road-ready their vehicle is and then take steps to have the problems fixed before heading out for vacation,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It’s a small sacrifice compared to the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down many miles away from home. Plus, if repairs or maintenance are needed, they can be done by a repair shop that knows you and your vehicle.”
The council also recommends that wipers and interior and exterior lighting on the vehicle be checked prior to a road trip, and that motorists restock their emergency kit. As a rule of thumb, wipers should be replaced every six months and lighting should be checked monthly.
To save on fuel costs during the trip, the council suggests that motorists avoid aggressive driving, observe the speed limit and avoid excessive idling. Gas caps that are damaged, loose or missing should be replaced to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information or to receive a copy of the council’s new Car Care Guide for motorists, visit www.carcare.org.