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Before You Hit the Road This Summer

Scott Monge

Road trips are a great way to spend time with family and friends for a short weekend getaway. But before you hit the road, there are a few things you need to do to ensure your car is ready for the miles ahead. The summer heat can take a toll on vehicles and drivers. Make sure you’re fully prepared before you pack up the car and put it in gear. Follow these tips to keep your car at its best.

  • Check your tires. Look for wear and tear. The penny test works best to check the amount of tread left on your tires. Place a penny with Lincoln’s head down into the tread. If you can see the top of his hair, you should take your vehicle in for an inspection to see if you need new tires. Also, check the air pressure. Underinflated and overinflated tires can affect your fuel consumption and create additional wear and tear on your tread. The recommended tire pressure should be listed in the owner’s manual or the door sticker.
  • Check the oil. If you’re due for an oil change, take your car in before your trip. If you change the oil yourself, make sure you use good quality, energy-conserving EC oils. Even if you’ve had the oil changed recently, it’s still a good idea to check the dipstick before you take off. Low oil levels can lead to trouble.
  • Replace old wiper blades. You never know when you might cross paths with a torrential downpour while you’re on the road. Blades can easily get dry and cracked in heat and cold. When they have cracks or other damage, they don’t work as effectively. Make sure your windshield is clean and wiper blades clear to ensure proper visibility for any circumstance.
  • Fill up fluids. Check all of your fluids to make sure your car has everything it needs. Make sure antifreeze is at full strength. Top off brake fluid, oil, windshield cleaner and transmission fluid reservoirs if any are below the suggested fill lines.
  • Update the emergency kit. Every vehicle should have an emergency kit with basic essentials. Check for an inventory of items you may need. Include jumper cables, tire-inflation kit, signals or flares, first aid box, water, flashlight and batteries.
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