Preparing your car for a summer road trip

Local

Service departments are ready to help people keep their cars on the road

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of people are avoiding airline travel and driving to their summer vacation destinations this summer. Before you go — car care experts want you to make sure your trip doesn’t end in a broken down disaster along the road.

Numerous surveys suggest more people will be driving to their summer vacation spots this year and it is imperative to make sure your car is up to the drive. In some cases, a major car malfunction doesn’t have any early warning signs and could leave you broken down on the roadside with an expensive fix. 

That has service departments everywhere ready to help people keep their cars on the road. It will get hot again and that means a top priority for comfortable road travel is air conditioning systems — many of which haven’t been used since last summer. 

“I’ve had calls from customers going on trips who say ‘hey my A/C isn’t working, what can I do?'” Bob Bauer of Mr. Transmission said. “Well, they’ve got to go to a shop and get it fixed — so before you go on a trip it’s a really good idea to get it inspected.”

However, keeping the inside of the car cool pales in comparison to the importance of keeping the engine cool. Bob Bauer of Mixex/Mr. Transmission in Wilsonville says cars need well visits to check for small leaks in cooling systems. He says to change your vehicle’s coolant every 20,000 miles to prevent your car from breaking down and becoming stranded on the roadside with an inoperable, overheated car. 

“A good thing to do before you go on a road trip is to have your vehicle inspected,” he said. “One of the things that a good certified shop does is to get under it and look for any even minuscule coolant leaks because your water pump is a high failure mechanism and leaks like that are somewhat common.”

Air filters help the car breathe and maintain good gas mileage. Don’t keep those if they’re dirty because when congested, even the cabin air filter strains air conditioning system. 

Furthermore, don’t forget tires with a tried and true penny test. If you stick the penny in the tread of a tire and you can see the head on the penny its likely time to think about new tires. 

Whether your trip takes you to see some Grizzly bears in Glacier or to the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, a little preparation will go along way toward keeping your vacation from turning into a broken down disaster.

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