Before hitting the road for your vacations this year, you can take several simple precautions to keep your family safe and save money at the pump. Extreme heat and long drives can be tough on cars. Cracked hoses, leaky radiators, under inflated tires and dirty filters can significantly lower your fuel efficiency, or worse, lead to a total breakdown.
Here are 5 tips to get your vehicle read for your next trip.
Tires are one of the most overlooked parts of a car. Truth is that an under-inflated, over-inflated, worn down or misaligned tire can be extremely dangerous, particularly in hot summer weather. Tire pressure changes with the rising temperatures — approximately one to two PSI (pounds per square inch) for every 10-degree increase in outside air temperature
. Use the penny trick to see if you still have enough tread on your tires. Stick a penny in the tread, and if Lincoln’s head disappears, your good.
Oil is the lifeblood of your car. It keeps hardworking engine parts running clean, smooth and cool. Most owner’s manuals suggest that you change your oil and oil filter every 7,500 miles (12,070 kilometers). Oil change specialists suggest every 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometers) or three months. The fact is, most of us do a lot of heavy driving during the summer when an engine is more likely to overheat. So at least check your oil before you head out on that road trip with the family.
Hoses and Belts:
Check hoses for cracks, leaks and loose connections. Hoses should be firm, never soft and malleable. Hoses suffer from a slow deterioration process called electrochemical degradation (ECD) that eats away at rubber hose material from the inside
. The most vulnerable parts of the hose are those nearest to clamps where the hose connects to the radiator or the engine.
Belts can also be visually checked for cracks and damage. Take note if the belt looks excessively slick or smooth. Remove the belt to make sure that the material hasn’t started separating into different layers. Experts say the risk of belt failure rises dramatically after 36,000 miles
Over the winter, your car’s air filter can get clogged with salt and other thick debris. A clogged air filter can really lower your fuel efficiency. Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. The recommended interval is every 12,000 miles (19,312 kilometers), but that can be affected by the particular road and air conditions in which you drive.
Winter can be tough on windshield wipers. Ice, snow, salt and extreme temperatures make cracks and tears in the rubber that lower the effectiveness of the wipers. If your wipers are leaving visible streaks or take several passes to clear away light rain, they need to be replaced.
Use these vehicle maintenance tips to help keep your car safe and make your next vacation an enjoyable one.
Source info: http://www.howstuffworks.com/
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