To the Editor:
If you are planning a road trip this summer, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just put gas in your car and go. A pre-trip vehicle check is the best way to avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down miles away from home.
By conducting a thorough vehicle inspection, you can determine how road-ready your vehicle is so you can have any problems fixed before hitting the road.
• Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
• Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer and power steering, brake and transmission fluids. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.
• Check the hoses and belts, and replace if they 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. Under-inflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
• Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy.
Following a routine maintenance program, like the Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service, can help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions this summer and throughout the year. Learn more at www.carcare.org.
Executive director of the Car Care Council