Summer means barbecues, sunshine and vacations. For many families, summer also means multiple or extended car trips that could take a toll on the family vehicle. A few simple maintenance and driving tips before could save you a trip to the mechanic and several hundred dollars with extensive car repairs later. Before you hit the road, spend some time getting your vehicle ready for those blissful summer trips.
1. Check those fluids. Change or check your oil, coolant, brake fluid, clutch fluid and even your windshield washing fluid. A fresh supply of fluids can have a huge impact on your gas mileage and help prevent engine damage.
2. Keep an eye on your tires. Use a gauge to check the tire pressure; you car’s manual should provide specification for ideal PSI for your tires. Check the tread on your tire to be sure you have adequate grip in slick conditions. Make sure your spare is accessible and you have a jack and extra bolts in your car.
3. Have a mechanic inspect your car to make sure all of your systems are functioning properly, especially your cooling and air conditioning systems. Overheating can be a big problem, especially in hot summer traffic. Ask the mechanic to check your fans and oxygen sensors to avoid overheating.
4. Pack lightly. An overloaded car can decrease gas mileage and make a car run less efficiently. Over packing can also create dangerous road conditions if bag obstruct your mirrors and decrease your visibility.
5. Keep you emergency kit well stocked. A small kit in your glove box or trunk should contain bandages, jumper cables, a flashlight with batteries, water and nonperishable food items.
6. Increase the lifespan and efficiency of you engine with conscious driving. Avoid stop and go driving; if you drive a manual, use shifting to your advantage by maintaining consistent speeds. Utilize your cruise control to increase your fuel economy. Not only will you improve your gas mileage but you’ll also lengthen the life of your engine and brakes.