Before you hit the road this summer, make sure your vehicle is road trip ready so you can have any problems fixed before you go. A pre-trip vehicle checkup will help avoid the inconvenience, potential safety hazards and unplanned expense of breaking down miles away from home, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
- 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. Underinflated 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 produces the lowest level of emissions.
- Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
“If you’re planning a summer road trip, it’s important to remember that it’s not as simple as just putting gas in the car and driving off,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Performing a thorough inspection of your vehicle before you leave will give you peace of mind and help make your road adventure safer and more fun.”