Original source: http://centralpenn.aaa.com/emaillanding0718.html#section1
Whether you’re headed out on a weekend road trip, planning a month long family vacation or waking a four-wheeled friend from its long winter nap, you’ll want to make sure the summer driving season brings maximum enjoyment and minimum stress. Before you pack up the car, check out these travel tips from AAA and your local AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.
- Perform car maintenance check
First of all, have your car looked over by a certified and inspected AAA Approved Auto Repair facility. If you are a AAA member you can have a maintenance check performed free of charge with any paid maintenance or repair. This will check over those items on the engine that can frequently fail during summer’s heat such as belts and hoses. Also they will give you a written estimate of any repairs or maintenance and guarantee all work with a 24 month or 24,000 mile warranty on parts and labor, that is good at over 7400 repair facilities across the U.S.
- Check your tire pressure
Tend to what connects your car to the road- your tires. If you have snow tires on, make sure to switch to some all season tires for the summer. Check your tire pressure – and check it often. Buy a quality tire pressure gauge to check air pressures and check the door decal that has the proper pressures for your vehicle listed on it. Check your tires first thing in the morning when tires are cool because as you drive on your tires the air pressure inside increases as the air gets warmer.
- Stay on top of your fluids
Stay on top of your fluids. If you’ve fallen behind on maintenance, get your vehicle’s oil changed before you hit the road. Use the proper type of oil for your engine, 5w-30, 10w-30 or 10w-40 are multiviscous, and get a bit thinner the hotter it gets outside, thereby increasing the chance that the engine might not get the proper lubrication (it’s the opposite in winter). Check the owner’s manual for the proper oil rating for your vehicle and if you are going to be driving in extremely hot weather you may want to consider using slightly thicker oil in the engine for extra friction protection. Also while the hood is up, have the antifreeze checked and make sure it has enough protection for both summer’s heat and winter’s cold, which is ideally a 50/50 mix of coolant and water, but again verify this by checking your owners manual.
- Have your battery checked
Have your battery checked. Summer’s heat and vibration are the two primary causes of battery failure in today’s vehicles. With today’s vehicles being as heavily dependant on electrical components such as computers, switches, and motors, it is absolutely vital to have a good strong battery and charging system to power all of them. If your vehicle is 4 or more years old and has the original battery, it is highly advisable to have it replaced before you go on a trip. If you are a AAA member call 1-800-222-4357 and one of our trained battery installers will come to your location and install a fresh, reasonably priced 6 year AAA battery, in your vehicle, with some restrictions and not in all area’s that AAA Central Penn services.
- Check your wiper blades
Make sure you can see. Check your wiper blades for condition, if they are skipping on the windshield or streaking it, they need replaced. Twice a year replacement is not unusual because of damage from winter ice and summer bugs and dirt. Also do a light check regularly to make sure all your lights especially headlights, turn signals, and brake lights are functioning properly.
- Pack for emergencies
Finally pack for emergencies. Carry a cell phone with a full charge and a cell phone charger for in the car. Also carry an emergency kit with: flashlight, flares, first aid kit, jumper cables, gloves, paper towels, extra washer fluid, energy bars or other non-perishable food, a gallon of water, and some basic tools (Leatherman, wrenches, ratchet/socket set, screwdrivers, pliers or Vise-Grips, etc.)
If you take care of your car before you go on your trip, it will take care of you and make sure you have a safe, trouble free trip.