High traffic volumes and unpredictable weather make Thanksgiving a stressful time to travel. According to the AAA, the number of Thanksgiving travelers will top 54 million, the highest travel volume in over a dozen years. While you can’t control the traffic or the weather, you can make sure that your vehicle is prepared for the trip, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
To minimize stress and avoid holiday road trip mishaps, the Car Care Council recommends checking the following items as part of a thorough pre-trip vehicle check.
- Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
- Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering, and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Make sure heaters, defrosters, and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
- Check the hoses and belts that can become loose, cracked, brittle, frayed or show signs of excessive wear.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
- Check that the gas cap is not loose, damaged or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
- Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
- Check out the Car Care Council website and order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide for the glove box at carcare.org/car-care-guide. This 80-page booklet is available in both English and Spanish.
“If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before heading out for the holidays in order to improve engine performance and increase fuel economy,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “These simple steps will help keep you on the road and get you safely to your destination.”
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at http://media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at www.carcare.org.