It’s summer, the kids are out of school, and you undoubtedly have all sorts of fun stuff planned.
As you’re gearing up for vacation, you shouldn’t forget about your car; you probably take it for granted, especially on long road trips.
Here are seven safe summer driving tips that will help you take care of your car and get the most out of every mile:
1. Get your car inspected before vacation
Budgets are tight these days, and so are schedules, which can make the prospect of leaving without getting your car looked at tempting indeed. Make an appointment with your local mechanic, and ask them to look your car over.
They should check things like the AC system, air filter, battery, tires, brakes, and exhaust. Just to be safe, allow a few extra days before your trip for any necessary repairs.
2. Have a plan in case you get stranded
According to Forbes magazine, the summer holidays (such as the 4th of July) are the busiest days for roadside assistance companies.
Summer tends to make cars go haywire; hoses break, tires rupture, and batteries lose their juice. Plan ahead so you’ll have a way to get help if you do break down.
3. Don’t leave kids or pets in the car
It should be common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many reports there are each year of children and pets being locked in hot cars. Don’t leave them there, even for a few minutes.
4. Get gas where you can
No one wants to stop when they’re on their way to a fun summer travel destination, especially if gas prices are high. Don’t take the chance of running out of gas, just to save a few cents.
Fuel expands during the heat of the day, so filling up in the morning will allow you to get slightly more gas for your dollar.
Under-inflated tires can negatively impact your fuel mileage, by 3% or more, and over-inflated tires mean a higher chance of a blowout.
If your tires contain too little air, they will wear faster than if they were properly filled; if they’re too full of air, you may have to let a little out.
6. Keep your license plates clean
When you’re on the highway, you can get pulled over by law enforcement if the numbers on your plates are obscured by dirt and grime.
7. Take it slow
In the hurry to get to your favorite destination, you’ll probably forget that you’ll spend more on fuel if you drive faster. The US Department of Energy says that you lose 8% of your fuel mileage for every 5 mph over 60; that can add up fast if you’re driving 75 or 80 mph.
Slow down; the fun will still be there when you arrive, and you’ll have more money when you get there.
Summer vacation is so much fun that it can be easy to forget about routine car care and safety. By slowing down on the road and getting your car inspected before you leave on vacation, you’ll arrive to your destination safe, sound and with some extra spending money in your pocket.
This guest post was written by James Harper on behalf of The Plate Market, which can help you buy and sell personalized license plates.