Posted by Liberty Auto Centers Auto Tune Up, Holiday Travel, Summer

Safety Checks for Summer Road Trips

Liberty Auto - Safety Checks for Summer Road Trips

Before hitting the road this summer for vacations at the beach, in the mountains, or under a resort umbrella, many families will check off their pre-travel to do lists. Let Liberty Auto Center run a check up on your car before your summer road trip!

Board the dog, stop the mail, pack the extra phone chargers – check, check, and check. One of the most important things that should be at the top of the list is making sure that your vehicle is road trip ready. Don’t forget safety checks for summer road trips. A breakdown away from home can be inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst (not to mention expensive!). Making sure that your vehicle is in tip top shape will ease your mind and help ensure that you reach your destination safely, on time, and ready to enjoy it. The exports at Liberty Auto Centers recommend checking the following elements before setting out on any trip or extended drive

Battery life. A dead battery usually calls to mind a cold winter morning, but in fact it is hot summer weather that does the most damage. Car batteries contain liquid and heat causes it to evaporate. The lower the fluid levels the more the internal battery system will oxidize, leading to failure. The other main culprit is overcharging, which can severely reduce a battery’s lifespan. Have the battery checked to make sure that it has not been compromised by damage, oxidation, or age.

Oil change. It’s not uncommon to push past reminders for oil and filter changes, rationalizing that surely driving a few more miles won’t hurt. And then a few more miles. This can be dangerous because the oil functions to keep your engine parts lubricated, and without oil you have metal on metal. Hot summer weather makes your oil work even harder, so it is doubly important to have the oil and filter inspected and changed before a road trip.

Brakes. What could be more important than good working brakes? The friction of the tires against the road slows down and stops the vehicle. Brakes produce a lot of heat when they do their job and the pads press against the discs. If the brakes are overused or overheated, the necessary cooling is affected and the distance it takes to stop becomes greater and greater. In the worst case the brakes can fail. Having the brakes thoroughly checked is a must before a drive of any distance.

Tire pressure and tread. Your tires are where your vehicle makes contact with the road, and it is critical to maintain the correct pressure. This helps your car handle better and last longer. Tires lose or gain pressure depending on the outside temperature, and in the summer heat low air pressure can cause tires to perform poorly and even fail. Since front and rear tires wear differently it is important to have them rotated regularly, and especially before a trip. The amount of treadwear on tires is also critical in determining how well they will maintain contact with the road in the rain. Since summer downpours are all too common, be sure to have the tread checked along with the pressure.

Fluid levels. Variations in weather and temperature can lead to low fluid levels, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. All of these fluids play a role in keeping your vehicle running safely and smoothly, so check them all before any long drive. Remember to pay special attention to the coolant fluid – the biggest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating.

Wipers and lighting. Summer storms can hit unexpectedly and create difficult driving conditions, especially after dark. Replace worn wiper blades to ensure visual control of the road and adjacent or oncoming vehicles. Also check all interior and exterior lights so that you see other drivers and other drives see you.

With two Maryland locations in Rockville and Gaithersburg, Liberty Auto Center is here to help your vehicle prepare for the hot asphalt of summer driving. Let our friendly certified auto service technicians check, diagnose, and repair any damage or wear on your vehicle so that you can hit the road with confidence.


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