Vacation time – some of the best family memories happen during summer vacation and taking road trips together. Remember all the “Are we there yet” questions and the different activities you planned to ward off boredom during the final hours?
The drive is often worth the experience, especially if you’ve planned a longer trip and can see more of the countryside while driving to your destination.
An important part of planning summer vacations is taking care of your car before you leave and making sure that your current car is reliable and properly maintained. If not, then you may consider trading your current car. Here are some areas to pay attention to for safer travels and protection from breakdowns to ensure safer travels.
Proper tire maintenance is critical for a road trip, especially a long one. The three major areas to keep an eye on is the tread, sidewall, and air pressure of the tire. Having the correct air pressure in your car’s tires lets your car perform in the most efficient way possible. When a tire is under-inflated, it causes the inside of the tire to heat up. This heat compromises the internal structure of the tire which can lead to a blowout. When a tire is over-inflated, it wears the tread down faster, and becomes more prone to catching nails or screws in the tire. Take the time to visually inspect each tire and check the air pressure, because that will lead you to whatever problem your tire might have.
Car Engine Components
A car’s engine is made up of many parts, but you can check or test a few things under the hood to see if they are safe for a vacation drive.
The belts in the engine area help connect systems together and if there is one belt that is worn or frayed, it can bog down the overall performance of the entire engine. Examine belts for cracks, and replace them if any are seen.
Fluid levels are important, especially coolant levels during hot summer driving. Make sure you have the proper mix of coolant for your vehicle, and the levels are topped off to the recommended amounts. While you’re checking fluid levels, make sure the washer fluid reservoir is full. Also check the wiper blades for cracks and that they make proper contact with the windshield.
If the battery under your hood isn’t performing, it can put a damper on summertime driving. Most people think that batteries take a beating during cold winter months, but summer temperatures can also challenge the battery. Scrub the battery terminal connections to remove possible corrosion. Most car batteries last about five years. A battery may last shorter or longer, depending on the way you drive, the weather and other factors. If your battery is 3 to 5 years old, it’s a good idea to test it.
Planning a summer vacation is fun; just remember to plan time for car maintenance before your trip to avoid delays during the trip! If you’re not confident that your car will get you to and from your destination, take it to a mechanic to get checked out.
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