(Victor Valley) – Got a summer vacation planned? If you plan to make that trip by car, you may want to make sure your car is in prime traveling condition.
It’s important to remember that hot weather can be tough on your car. For example, your cooling system has to work harder to keep the engine from overheating, tires have to perform under hotter conditions, and if you have a breakdown, you should be prepared to wait in hot weather until some form of assistance arrives, or you’re able to repair the vehicle yourself.
Take the time to check your vehicle before you hit the road with the following tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Belts and Hoses — Look under the hood and inspect all belts and hoses to make sure they are in good shape with no signs of blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber. High summer temperatures accelerate the rate at which rubber belts and hoses degrade, so it’s best to replace them now if they show signs of obvious wear. While you’re at it, check all hose connections to make sure they’re secure.
- Cooling System — Carefully check your coolant level to make sure it’s adequate. In addition, if it’s time to have your cooling system flushed and refilled (or even nearly time), have it done now. On a long road trip in summer heat, you’ll want your cooling system functioning at peak performance to avoid the possibility of your engine overheating.
- Fluid Levels — Obviously, you’ll want to check your vehicle’s oil level. And as with coolant, if it’s time or even nearly time to have the oil changed, now would be a good time to do it. In addition, check the following fluid levels: brake, automatic transmission, power steering, windshield washer, and coolant. Make sure each reservoir is full and if you see any sign of fluid leakage, take your vehicle in to be serviced.
- Lights — See and be seen! Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in working order. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Towing a trailer? Be sure to check your trailer lights including brake lights and turn signals too. Failure of trailer light connections is a common problem and a serious safety hazard.
- Air Conditioning — If you’re traveling with someone sensitive to heat, you may also want to make sure your AC system is functioning properly. Lack of air conditioning on a hot summer day affects people who are in poor health or are sensitive to heat, such as children and seniors. If the air is not blowing cold, have the system repaired before you go because emergency on-the-road repairs can be more costly than those you plan in advance.
Plan ahead and take care of your car before you leave. Don’t ruin your vacation. Prevention and planning are much easier than dealing with the consequences of a breakdown, or worse yet, a highway crash.
For more tips and information visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/