There's no substitute for regularly scheduled service by qualified TECH-NET ASE-certified technicians, but taking the following ten steps on your own before every trip this summer will reduce the risk of encountering problems on the road:
1. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Using an air pressure gauge, be sure that your tire pressure meets the manufacturer's specifications, as listed in the owner's manual.
2. Check your oil. It's a good habit to check your motor oil before every trip. If it's low, or due for a change, your engine is in danger of overheating.
3. Monitor your coolant and water levels. Overheating can also occur if your engine's coolant or water level is too low, so both should be regularly checked.
4. Test your battery. Summer temperatures can shorten the life of your car's battery. Before taking a trip, weak or old batteries should be tested and replaced if necessary.
5. Test your vehicle lights and turn signals. Check your vehicle's lights, including all headlights, brakelights and turn signals, to make sure they work properly.
6. Clean your vehicle lights. It is important to see and be seen. Built-up residue, such as pollen or dirt, may cause your headlights to become dim.
7. Check your wiper blades. The weather does not always cooperate while you're travelling. Remember to check your wiper blades on both sides to ensure tight attachment and a clean blade surface.
8. Clean your windshield and windows. Regularly clean your windshield and windows on both the inside and outside to reduce glare and improve visibility.
9. Don't overload your car. When packing your car for a trip, overloading can create excessive tire heat, which can lead to blowouts. In addition, overloading your backseat or storage area can limit visibility.
10. Have emergency equipment accessible. Make sure you leave room in your trunk for the following safety items: a tire gauge, flashlight with extra batteries, flares or reflectors, fire extinguisher and first-aid kit.