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How to Summer-ize Your Car

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/7/2006 | Travel

 With the summer season setting in many of us plan road trips through the most beautiful terrains of the US countryside. But before we set out on our trip the very fundamental thing that needs to be taken care of is the maintenance of our car. The car has quite a challenge ahead of it as it negotiates the rugged terrain, has to cross streamlets, and weather off the beating sun. However if we are regular in our maintenance of our car chances are that we will avoid any major breakdown during the course of our journey.

The kind of maintenance your car requires would depend much on the trip you have planned. But the general practice is to get your car serviced according to the service schedules mentioned in the owners manual. No one wants his or her car to crank up and spoil all the fun of the trip. So all you got to do is to plan ahead and you can thus ensure a safe and fun trip for your family.

The major reason cars break down during summer is over heating. This can be taken care of by just ensuring that the cooling system is in order. It should be flushed and refilled according to the owners manual. You should also get your air conditioning system checked by a trained mechanic.

The oil and oil filter should be changed after about every 3000 miles. The air and fuel filter should also be replaced according to the schedule. One very important thing that we often overlook is to get our belts, clamps and hoses checked. This isnt too expensive and any trained technician can do it.

Next come the tires. One shouldnt use a set of tires for more than 5000 miles. Before you set out on your trip check for tire tread depth. You would be driving through harsh conditions. Be sure your tires will last. Also make sure that your spare tire is properly inflated. Remember to carry your jack, lug wrench and all the other gear you might need in case of a tire puncture.

Also have your wiper blades checked. During the winter the snow and ice can lead to scratches resulting in its performance to dip. Severe temperatures during the winter months can also make the blades weak. Also make sure that your brakes, batteries, and lights are in the best of conditions.

Be prepared for emergencies. Pack yourself a first aid kit, flashlights and may be some flares too. You never know when you need them. It helps if you travel prepared.

If you are driving through regions where the conditions can be extreme you may even need to change your engine oil. Consult your mechanic and the owners manual to get the details.

Before you leave for the trip have a detailed plan of the trip. Leave a copy of the map with one of your friends or relatives. Explain to them thoroughly the details of the map and clear any doubts they might have. When you finally leave for your trip make sure you are carrying your drivers license with you. Also see to it that your cars insurance is still valid. Also carry a spare set of keys to the car.

Some other basic things that you would need to carry are medications, plenty of drinking water, mosquito repellants sunscreen lotion.

Just follow these suggestions and your trip would become that much more efficient and enjoyable. Also remember to take breaks when you feel tired. It is advisable not to drive more than two hours at a stretch.