A lot of my clients use the summer months to enjoy road trips. Here are some tips to make your travels safer, more economical, and more comfortable.
A lot can happen “where the rubber meets the road,” so make sure tires are properly inflated to ensure safety and fuel efficiency.
Check your tire pressure in the morning, when the temperature is at its coolest for the day.
Don’t guess about proper tire pressure: look at your sidewall to find out the manufacturer’s recommended MAXIMUM pressure.
Your tire pressure should be about 80% of the maximum recommended. Why? As the temperature rises during the day, and as you drive at highway speeds, the air inside your tire heats up and expands. You want to leave enough room inside your tire to handle that expansion.
Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated, too!
You should check your fluids before beginning taking a trip. These include engine oil, brake fluid, antifreeze/coolant, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.
Look under your car to see if anything is leaking. Clear water from condensation on the air conditioning unit isn’t a problem, but everything else is! Check the color of your fluids, too—fluids that are dark and thick are dirty and need to be replaced.
Check your hoses and belts. Hoses tend to fail close to where they connect to engine parts. Belts may look great on the side you can see easily, but they may be damaged on the underside, where they connect with engine parts. Check both sides for wear and cracks.
When driving with the air conditioner running, set your air system to re-circulate the interior air. Your a/c won’t work as hard to cool that air as it does to cool the hotter air from outside.
Keep your windshield wipers in good repair: it’s no fun losing visibility in a cloudburst or thunderstorm!
Keep your windows clean, inside and out. Dirty windows increase glare when driving into the sun and contribute to poor visibility in all driving conditions.
Take care of these easy-to-manage issues, and your car will do its part to make sure you have a great road trip!