People across the country are packing up their cars and hitting the road for their summer vacations. But with gas prices on the rise and AAA predicting more than 7.5 million vehicle breakdowns over the warmer months, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is prepared.
Begin by taking your car to a certified automotive technician for a full checkup to ensure that the engine, battery, exhaust system and cooling system are in good working order and the main fluids are filled to the recommended levels. You can find a technician in your area by visiting www.MasterCareUSA.com.
This is the perfect time of year to check your vehicle’s cooling system. The cooling system of most cars requires a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze, which should be flushed once every two years. Have a technician determine if your car is ready for a system flush; this preventive maintenance step can save you from an inconvenient roadside breakdown and a big repair bill in the future.
It also is essential to make sure that your tires are properly inflated, rotated, aligned and replaced as necessary. Under-inflated tires will actually decrease your vehicle’s gas mileage and shorten the life of your tires. A label on the driver’s inside door jamb, glove compartment door or fuel door lists recommended tire pressures for different speeds and loads. Never use the “max pressure” number found on the sidewall of your tire.
Check your tire pressure at least monthly and always when your tires are cold (driven less than 1 mile or stationary for at least three hours).
And watch your tire tread. Worn tires can be extremely dangerous on wet road surfaces. “Wear bars” – small raised points of rubber in the grooves – will show up when tires are worn. If the tread is the same height as the wear bars, it’s time for a new tire.