With the summer months upon us, many people are planning family vacations and summer road trips. The hot summer weather can be especially rough on your vehicle, as the higher temperatures can accelerate wear and tear. There are some simple preventative measures that can be taken to help keep the summer driving season enjoyable and safe. So, before packing up your vehicle and heading out on the road, be sure to thoroughly inspect your vehicle:
- Check your tire pressure often, including the spare. Most cars have a decal on the driver side doorjamb that indicates the correct tire pressure. Properly inflated tires improve fuel economy, ensure the best possible contact between the tire and the road and will help avoid blowouts and tread separation.
- Have the engine oil and filter changed according to the manufacturer’s service intervals and specifications. The service technician should also check the coolant, automatic transmission, brake, windshield wiper and power steering fluids at this time.
- Inspect your wiper blades. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is only one year and a hard winter can often wear out your wipers. Replace wipers if they look worn or are not making full contact with the windshield.
- Check your battery and battery cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt. Extreme temperatures can put additional strain on your vehicle’s battery. If your battery is more than 3 years old, have it tested at a certified repair facility.
- Inspect the belts and hoses. They are designed to last a long time in modern vehicles but there is still a potential for failure. Have them inspected by a certified repair facility.
- Test your vehicles interior and exterior lights to ensure they work. Clean the lenses to allow for maximum visibility.
- Check the engine light and never leave for a long trip if the check engine light is on. If the light is on while you are driving your vehicle, it is alerting you of a malfunction. Have the problem diagnosed by a certified technician before you leave for your trip.
After you have inspected your vehicle’s condition, prepare an emergency kit to keep in your vehicle (including a flashlight, first-aid kit, jumper cables, blanket, gloves, paper towels, washer fluid, bottled water, snack bars and basic tools).
Pack smart. Bring only the essential items and be sure not to pack items so high that they obstruct your outward vision. Make sure you have access to items you may need along the way by packing them on the top or in the back seat.
When you are on the road, avoid fatigue by resting often. Switch drivers every hour or two, if possible. Make stops frequently, as this will help reduce the risk of freeway fatigue. If you find yourself getting tired, pull over to a safe spot and rest.
Enjoy the summer and drive safe!