How to Prepare Your Car for a Summer Road Trip

AAA estimates that for 69 percent of all Americans, road trips are the favorite way to vacation. For many, the call of the open road is too strong to ignore. Being able to jump in your car and go on an adventure leads to many summer memories. While the average national airline ticket cost is the lowest it has been since 2011, the idea of spending almost $350 per person to travel makes driving an economical and attractive choice.

Preparing your car ahead of time for your summer road trip would ensure that your trips are relaxing and stress free. It will also protect you and your family from unforeseen circumstances that may endanger your trip or your lives. By following these few simple steps, you can ensure that the only complaints you will hear during your trip will be your kids asking if they are there yet.

Respect Your Oil

Traditional advice suggests that for the summer months, you switch to a heavier oil. Modern cars, however, are more advanced than cars of yesteryear and require specific oil. A modern engine is designed to function in a wide array of temperatures and weather conditions without needing a change in oil weight. If your car is fewer than 15 years old, you should ensure that the viscosity of the oil you are using for your car matches the manufacturer’s specifications, which can be found on the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual.

If you have been putting off changing your car’s oil because of the cold weather, it is time to buckle down and get it done. Not having your car’s oil changed on a regular basis can cause excessive engine wear and may lead to expensive repairs down the road. Make sure that you check the oil level regularly and top it off when needed; do not wait for a warning light or a scheduled oil change to tell you to check your engine’s lubrication.

Know Your Fluid Levels

Your car’s cooling system does more than keep you comfortable during the hot summer months. It is an essential part of keeping your engine cool enough to run without seizing up. At a running temperature of 200°F, your cooling system is best equipped to protect your engine from rust, the motor oil losing viscosity, and losing fuel combustion efficiency.

At 250°F, however, your engine may overheat, endangering your car and those riding inside of it. This is why coolant levels are so important in the summer. When checking your coolant system, you should:

  • Make sure the radiator is cool. When warm or hot, the radiator is under pressure, which could lead to coolant burns and damage to the radiator;
  • Check your radiator and coolant hoses for cracks and leaks, and ensure that all connections are secured; and
  • Add coolant when the reservoir level is below the halfway mark. Never add 100 percent antifreeze to your coolant system. Ensure that you are using a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water or a pre-diluted blend.

It is also important that you check the other fluids in your vehicle, including the power steering, windshield wiper, brake, and transmission fluids.

Be Safe

The worst way to end a road trip is with an accident. A little caution and preparation can go a long way in avoiding a major accident.

According to Kids and Cars, 50 children are backed over in the United States every week by drivers who could not see them. Regardless of the size or shape of the car, every vehicle has blind spots immediately behind and in front of it where the driver does not have a clear line of sight. This creates a situation where drivers are literally blind to potential hazards and bystanders in the vehicle’s path.

By May 2018, it will be mandatory for new cars to have backup cameras. For older cars, adding an aftermarket backup camera is a great way of improving the safety of the vehicle at an affordable price. It is easy to find a camera that offers the options and features you seek at on online vendor such as Camera Source, a one-stop for all of your aftermarket camera needs.

See more tips for preparing your car for a summer road trip on the Camera Source blog here: 6 Steps to Prepare Your Car for a Summer Road Trip