Summer road trip season is here. Taking proactive steps to make sure your vehicle is operating properly will help avoid the hassle and unexpected cost of a breakdown away from home, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
This summer, AAA expects to receive calls from over seven million stranded motorists experiencing car trouble. The majority of issues the travel group anticipates will cause car problems, such as dead batteries and flat tires, can be prevented with a pre-trip vehicle inspection.
“Summer heat can take a toll on a vehicle, especially if it hasn’t been properly maintained,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Whether you do it yourself or visit a trusted professional technician, a pre-trip vehicle check will give you peace of mind and provide the opportunity to make any necessary repairs before you hit the highway.”
AAA also reports that four out of 10 drivers are unprepared for vehicle breakdowns. So you and your vehicle are ready for the road, the Car Care Council recommends taking the following auto care steps before you leave home.
- Check the battery and replace if necessary. Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging. Excessive heat and overcharging shortens the life of a battery.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system as proper cooling performance is critical for interior comfort.
- Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check the wipers and lightingso that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.
- Check the emergency kit and restock, if necessary. Be sure to fully charge cell phones before leaving home.
The Car Care Council also recommends inspecting the brake system and performing a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy.