A Simple Vehicle Check Avoids Road-Trip Fireworks

A simple vehicle inspection before a family vacation can help avoid the short fuses, inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down many miles away from home, says the Car Care Council.

“It’s easy to keep the sparks from flying from car trouble on a road trip,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A quick vehicle check can give motorists peace of mind and save them from the hassle of a roadside breakdown. In just 10 minutes, drivers can make sure their car is ready for travel and then take steps to have any problems fixed before heading out for vacation.”

Right in their own driveway, motorists can identify how road-ready their vehicle is with the 10-minute inspection recommended by the Car Care Council. If repairs or maintenance are needed, they can be performed before hitting the road.

• Check all fluids, including engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer solvent and power steering, brake and transmission fluids.

• Check the hoses and beltsthat can 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 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 wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and inspect and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

The Car Care Council also recommends that motorists restock their emergency kit and consider a brake inspection and tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy. To further save on fuel costs during the trip, the council suggests that motorists observe the speed limit and avoid aggressive driving and excessive idling. Gas caps that are damaged, loose or missing should be replaced to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

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