Thu04172014

On The Road

Before taking a summer road trip, heed these helpful tips from AAA

Ah, the summer road trip. By now, you’re counting down the days until you and your family embark on that vacation you’ve been looking forward to all year long.

Maybe you’re planning to visit friends and family, a theme park, one of our national parks or a sunny beach. Whatever your destination, take the time to make sure your car is in tiptop shape before you set out. Otherwise, you may spend your precious vacation time frustrated, stuck on the side of the road or sitting in a repair shop instead of enjoying your trip.

Here are some items experts at the American Automobile Association recommend you take care of before setting out:

• Check all belts, hoses and fluids. With the engine off, look for worn or cracked belts and damaged or soft hoses. Inspect the antifreeze/coolant level and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present. If you’re not comfortable making the checks on your own, bring your car to a mechanic for a seasonal checkup.

• Check motor oil level and condition. If you’ll be driving under extreme conditions, such as very hot temperatures or while towing a heavy trailer, you’ll want to switch to a motor oil with higher viscosity. Check your car’s owner’s manual for specific oil recommendations.

• Bring preparations. Because even properly maintained vehicles can break down, AAA advises motorists to equip their vehicle with an emergency kit containing a flashlight with extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit and a cellular phone to summon emergency assistance if needed.

Once all these checks are completed, you should be ready to set off. And with gas prices remaining above $3 per gallon for regular unleaded, you’ll want to make sure you are getting the best gas mileage possible. To make your car more fuel efficient, ensure that your tires are properly inflated.

– Courtesy of ARAcontent

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