Tune Up Your Car Before Taking Off on Vacation - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

You're Ready…Is Your Car?

Tune Up Your Car Before Taking Off on Vacation

By PlanetFeedback Staff

You're ready for summer vacation…is your car?

The summer is fast upon us and so is the time to adventure across the expansive American landscape for summer vacation. 

Maybe you’re taking a weekend road trip to sporting event, a concert, or a festival, and you’ll be traveling the extensive highways and byways in search of summer fun. Or maybe you're packing the family into the van and heading for parts unknown and undiscovered. One thing to keep in mind: If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.

Let’s face it, no one really wants to walk Death Valley, see what I-75 looks like on foot near Valdosta, Ga., or stroll the Plains states in 95-degree heat – no matter how cool the movie folks make it look in Dumb and Dumber. Pre-trip maintenance should spare you an unintended walk through southern Nevada

For torturous summer driving, a few relatively inexpensive steps can ensure that your car will hold up in the summer heat, withstand the pain of traffic jams and minimize long-term maintenance costs. With the average car at 10 years old, here are some tips to keep it on the road.

· Oil. It really should be changed every 5,000 miles, so check the mileage written on that little sticker in the upper left corner of your windshield (not while driving!)  Stickers are typically posted by the last quick-change oil place, with 1,500-2,000 miles added to the estimate. Be sure to schedule an oil change.   
· Coolant or radiator fluid? Top it off now and you won’t have to think about it again until November.
· Brake pads, discs and brake fluid. Check every 30,000 miles.
· Wiper fluid and blades. They need regular attention that no one gives them. Greasy windshields can become opaque in a wicked thunderstorm and lead to accidents.
· Power-steering fluid. Check it at major service intervals.
· Air-conditioning. If you live in or plan to travel to areas of extreme heat, be sure to have this checked and charged if needed. This is especially true if you are traveling to or through such areas with children or elderly.
· Spark plugs. They help your engine burn cleaner and more effectively. Your wallet benefits from improved gas mileage and performance
Check your manual for your maintenance schedule.  Major services are generally due every 30,000 miles. If your odometer reading is a multiple of 30,000, it's time to make that service appointment.

Be a savvy shopper, however. Like any other major purchase, it pays to shop around. Sometimes dealer service department prices can vary by as much as 20 percent for the same service.

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