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Summer Road Trip Car Maintenance Tips

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Summer is finally here and people are taking to the roads for summer vacation. Car trouble is one of the quickest ways to bring your summer fun to a screeching halt. And while you can’t prevent every mechanical issue, you can help reduce the possibility by making sure your car is in good working order. Get your car ready for a summer road trip with these simple tips.

Summer Road Trip Car Maintenance Tips


You tires are one of the most important parts of your car. Everything from tread depth to proper inflation directly affects vehicle safety, handling and fuel economy. Before you leave for your summer road trip, be sure you check tire pressure of all four tires and your spare. Check the recommended psi in your vehicle’s instruction manual as the number on the tires is for reference only.

Also, inspect your tires for adequate tread depth. A good rule of thumb is that if your tires have less than 2/32 of an inch tread, it’s time for a new set. You should also check for any uneven wear, cuts, nicks or sidewall cracking. Uneven wear across the face of the tire often indicates the need for a wheel alignment or worn suspension components.


The first thing you should check is the battery. Make sure all connections are clean, tight and corrosion-free. If the battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it professionally tested to see if it is time for a replacement. Many auto parts stores and service stations will do this at no charge.

Fluids and Filters

Check the levels and condition of your vehicle’s fluids. This includes the oil, engine coolant, automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid and even the windshield washer reservoirs. If low, be sure you top them off with the proper fluid. If you’re due or almost due for an oil change, go ahead and have this performed before you leave. Most mechanics will check all fluids and filters during an oil change.

You should also check into changing all filters if you haven’t done so recently. Some of the most common filters are the cabin air filter, the air filter and the fuel filter.

Belts and Hoses

A car’s belts and hoses are critical to several different systems including the electrical, air conditioning, power steering and cooling system. Therefore you should do a thorough inspection before heading out for your summer road trip. Check the belts and hoses for any signs of cracking, fraying, brittleness, or looseness. It’s also a good idea to check your owner’s manual for recommended service intervals as some belts and hoses may require replacement more often than others.


Take a look at your brake pads to see if they need to be changed. In addition, pay attention to any warning signs such as  squealing brakes or grinding; these can be a sure sign it’s time for new brake pads, as can reduced responsiveness when braking. If you’re not sure, have a mechanic inspect the brake pads and the rotors to determine if it’s time for replacement.

Lights and Other Equipment

Take a walk around the car and make sure that all exterior lights are in working order inclsuing headlights, taillights, reverse lights and turn signals. Make sure that all interior lighting is working properly as well. Replace any burned-out bulbs or blown fuses.

Check your windshield wipers for any smearing, stuttering or dry rotting, and replace if needed. And don’t forget to test the horn and ac as well. A summer road trip is not much fun without air conditioning.

Consider updating your car accessories, such as the dash mats, floor mats, floor liners, and seat covers, and invest in a weather-proof cover to protect your vehicle’s exterior. Getting new custom-fit auto accessories will freshen up your vehicle and keep it fully protected during your summer road trip.

Summer Road Trip Car Maintenance Tips Summary

While many of these simple maintenance tasks can be easily performed at home, others are best handled by certified mechanics such as those at Thomson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram FIAT. Be sure to call your dealership or mechanic and schedule an appointment at least a week before you hit the road for your next summer road trip!

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