Summer Driving Tips

May 25, 2010

By Jenny Li, Editor in Chief, State Farm™ Employee

Hundreds of Americans across the country will soon pack up their cars to "get away," as the summer travel season kicks off this Memorial Day weekend. AAA has projected the number of Americans traveling this holiday weekend will increase 5.4 percent from 2009, with approximately 32.1 million travelers taking a trip away from home.

Summer Maintenance

Before you hit the road, make sure your preparation includes getting your car ready for warmer temperatures. Some simple steps can help you save time, money, and headaches during your trip.

  • Consider a pre-trip inspection by a qualified technician; repairs can be more costly on the road.
  • Check the air conditioning. You may want to have a professional inspect the entire system.
  • A service professional should inspect the radiator, pressure cap, belts, and hoses.
  • Check the cooling system, and if necessary, get it serviced.
  • Check the air pressure in all tires, including the spare, to make sure they are properly inflated.
  • Replace ragged wiper blades.
  • Inspect batteries and battery cables for corrosion, cracks, and dirt.
  • Have a licensed brake adjuster inspect your brake pads and linings for wear.
  • Change the oil and filter according to manufacturerís service interval specifications.
  • Test your carís interior and exterior lights.

Roadside Emergency Kit

Even if youíve diligently followed all of the suggested tips for summer car maintenance, it never hurts to have a "just in case" kit in your trunk. In the event you should need it, youíll be thankful you have it. Your emergency kit should include:

  • Screwdrivers and wrenches
  • Jumper cables
  • A jack and tire iron
  • Flashlight
  • A can of "Fix-a-Flat" for temporarily sealing and inflating a flat tire
  • Water for both the radiator and yourself
  • Gloves
  • Blanket and towel
  • Emergency flares and reflectors

Remember, never leave on a road trip with your carís "check engine light" or "malfunction indicator light" lit up. If the light is on, have a qualified technician take a look under the hood.

If you take these precautions, you and your vehicle might be happier on the roads this summer.

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