Thursday, June 21, 2012
Taking a Summer Road Trip? Take These 3 Quick Steps to Prepare
Now that it's officially summer, you might be getting ready for a nice road trip to see relatives, the beach, the mountains or wherever.
But before you hit the highway, be sure to adopt the old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.
Don't get out there and let car troubles ruin your vacation.
Here are three quick tips for making sure you're road-ready.
Check All Five of Your Tires
AAA projects that about 1.2 million drivers will call the motorists' organization for assistance dealing with a flat tire in the summer travel season. Don't be one of them. Check the four tires that are on the ground, as well as your spare. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual to see how much air pressure your tires need, then fill or deflate accordingly.
This is good not only for safety, but also fuel economy. Well inflated tires can cut your fuel bill by up to 12 cents a gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Check for wear and tear too. Insert a quarter into the tread with the top of Washington's head pointing toward the center of the tire. If you see space between the top of Washington's head and the tread, you might need to replace the tire.
Inspect and Clean the Battery
AAA says it is likely to replace more than 700,000 batteries this summer. Don't let your car's be one of them. Make sure the cables are attached properly and that the terminals and cable parts that attach are free of corrosion or other gunk.
A battery typically lasts three to five years, and you can get yours tested at most auto repair chain stores for free.
Change Wiper Blades and Add Washer Fluid
You need to maintain good windshield visibility for safety. Replace your wiper blades when they leave streaks or don't give a clean sweep of water from the windshield. Check your fluid levels and make sure you've got enough and that it reaches your windshield properly.
Take the proper precautions, and your road trip should be a fun experience, as long as your family members don't endlessly sing annoying songs in the car.