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, says the non-profit Car Care Council. A pre-trip vehicle check can determine how road-ready your vehicle is so you can take steps to have any problems fixed before heading out for vacation.
Before you hit the road, the Car Care Council recommends a vehicle check to help avoid the inconvenience, potential safety hazards and unplanned expense of breaking down miles away from home.
- 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 brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
- 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.
- Check the engine to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
- Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
“With summer vacation season upon us, a thorough inspection of your vehicle will give you peace of mind and help make your road journey safer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Taking a few minutes to ‘be car care aware’ will make for a less stressful and more fun adventure.”
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide, which is now available electronically, or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.