05 May 2008

Preparing Your Car for Vacations

Two huge stones with a big fingerprint on themIt’s 3:30 in the morning and my mom has just come in to wake me up. I’m so excited I can hardly wait. I get dressed and make my way out to the car. We quietly get everything put in the trunk and stealthily make our way from the house. It’s going to be a long 12 hour trip, but I don’t care we are going to Portland, Oregon and Mt. Hood. I get to have Fish and Chips for dinner and after that, we hit Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone. This is our annual vacation and I used to look forward to it each year.

Now that I am older and have a family of my own, I have come to realize the amount of preparation my dad went through to make sure our vacation was as safe and free of mechanical breakdowns. Now is the time to prepare for your trip. Although gas prices are high and you may travel closer to home, you still need to do a few things that will help prepare you for the road ahead.

The first item on the agenda will be to get your car serviced. I would suggest you fight the urge to take your car to one of those “quick lube” places. Make sure the job is done right the first time and take your car to your regular mechanic. It may cost a little more, but you get peace of mind in return for the extra cash outlay. Here is a list of things that should be done before any long trip. These items will help assure that your car is running smoothly and efficiently.

  • Get a Tune-Up. This should be done at least once a year.


  • Get your fluids checked. This is usually done at the time of an oil change.


  • Get your oil changed.


  • Have your tires rotated. This will ensure that your tires wear evenly.


  • Have your air pressure checked. This is one of the leading causes of poor gas mileage.


  • Make sure you have new filters. The air and oil filters are usually replaced when you get an oil change, but it doesn’t hurt to check and be sure.


  • Have your mechanic check and make sure all the belts are “right and tight”.


  • Have the breaks checked.


  • Don’t overload the trunk. The extra weight will reduce your gas mileage.

    These are just a few of the most important items that should be taken care of. Yes, it is just the usual routine automobile maintenance that every car should have; however it usually ends up being far from routine.

    I hope these few tips have helped. Remember, this is your vacation…..stay off the cell phone!! You don’t need to talk on the phone while driving. Talk to your family instead, they’re the reason your on vacation in the first place.

    Have a safe and wonderful vacation! If you want, send me a picture of your favorite destination and we can have a contest and see if anyone can name where it is!

    www.epa.gov

    Get Your Car Ready for Summer Vacation



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