Are you and your family planning to drive to a holiday get-together this year? Whether you’re heading to Grandma’s cottage or a favorite vacation spot to celebrate holidays with family or friends, AAA has simple tips to help make your drive a smooth one, so you can arrive at your destination safely and without incident.
- Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. If maintenance is not up to date, have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive.
- Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
- Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
- If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated.
- Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.
- In case of an emergency, keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. AAA and many other companies offer smartphone applications that enable motorists to request help without making a phone call.
With a little prep, you can leave the road-trip stress at home and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.
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Looking to give a little boost to your car’s engine? If you want more horsepower without overhauling your engine, look into investing in a cold air intake. It will replace your car’s standard airbox with a cone-shaped filter that provides more air into your engine. With more air, you engine can run faster and use less fuel doing it. Make sure to double check if you manufacturer’s warranty will still be valid after this cheap and easy modification.
Although we never suspect it would happen to us, vehicle breakdowns do happen and can really put you in a bind if you’re not prepared. It’s recommended to, at a minimum, keep jumper cables, a quart of motor oil and a small tool kit. It’s also a good idea to keep triangle reflectors or flares in the instance you are stranded in the dark. You never know when something is going to happen to your car, so it’s best to be prepared.
Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is tremendously important to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Before you head into winter, make sure your car isn’t low on coolant and that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s engine that could cause coolant to drain out. Many mechanics recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix of coolant and water in their radiators, which usually results in a lower engine freezing point than just coolant.
Is your car battery always dying? While many assume its cold weather that kills batteries, they are actually more adversely affected by heat. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your battery as the seasons change from hotter to cooler or if you’ve been driving in a hot part of the country.
To get the most life out of a battery, be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging. Also, keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.
Use your parking brake. Even if you are driving a car with an automatic transmission, use your parking brake regularly, especially if you’re parked on an incline. It helps keep the brakes adjusted in the rear of the car and makes them last longer. However, do not use your parking brake in the wintertime because your brake will freeze and it will be stuck until it thaws out.