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 vehicle before you leave. Good auto maintenance prior to a road trip can ensure safer travels and protection from breakdowns. Here are some areas to pay attention to, especially the tires, the engine components, and the battery.
Proper tire maintenance is critical for a road trip, especially a long one. Correct tire inflation can have an impact on gas mileage. If tires aren’t inflated according to specified psi’s then you could also risk a blowout. Blowouts can also happen because the tires are getting worn out. Take time to measure the tread to be sure it’s still within safe limits; and look for uneven spots where the tread is worn thin. Tire balance and alignment can make a huge different in the comfort of the ride, so check when the last time this was performed, and schedule it as maintenance before you leave for your trip.
A car’s engine is made up of many parts, and there are a lot of them that you can’t do anything with yourself – it takes a qualified mechanic to break down an engine for repairs. However, 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, and now would be a good time to check the wiper blades to be sure they aren’t worn or cracked.
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. Your auto mechanic can tell you how strong the charge is in the battery, and most batteries have a recommended life span before replacement is needed.
Planning a summer vacation is fun; just remember to plan time for auto maintenance before your trip to avoid delays during the trip!