Road Trip Ready
How can I make sure my car is ready for a summer road trip?
By Anthony Ricotta
Q: How can I make sure my car is ready for a summer road trip?
A: Come summer, the weather is warm, kids are off from school, and many families are gearing up to take an all-American road trip. But is the family car ready for this adventure? Here are some tips to help give your car the care it needs and avoid car problems on the road.
- During the summer, a vehicle’s air conditioning should operate as low as 48 degrees Fahrenheit. If it doesn’t, take advantage of free checks at AAA Car Care centers to discover why it is underperforming. If the air-conditioning refrigerant is leaking out, the performance of the air conditioner will decrease and, eventually, completely stop working. In some cases, a simple $10 O-ring can cause this to happen.
- Most drivers understand the importance of having antifreeze checked in the winter, but they fail to understand how crucial it is in the summer. A vehicle low on antifreeze will have trouble cooling itself down, especially in summertime traffic, which could result in engine overheating.
- To ensure that your vehicle’s brakes will not fail, schedule a maintenance check with your local mechanic. He or she can verify that the brake pad material has at least 30 percent—or, ideally, more—life to it and check all metal hydraulic brake lines to ensure that there is no rust damage or deterioration.
- Check the tire pressure and tread depth on each of the vehicle’s tires, including the spare, if there is one. To check the tread depth, stick a penny in the tire tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it is time for new tires.
- If you find that your tires are wearing quickly or unevenly, have the alignment adjusted upon replacing your tires.
- Have your suspension checked during every oil change. Don’t wait until your vehicle starts making a a clunking noise when going over bumps. Make sure to have the ball joints and tie rod ends examined for any looseness.
These simple inspections can prevent headaches and keep you and your family safer on your drive. Also, most of these inspections are performed free at any AAA Car Care Center. To find a AAA Car Care Center near you, visit AAA.com.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 edition of AAA World.