Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer Driving Tips

A quick and easy automotive checkup can help prepare a vehicle for the stress of high temperatures and increase its reliability on long road trips.

      * Tires -- To help prevent dangerous and inconvenient tire failure, examine tires for uneven or excessive tread wear. Make sure all tires, including the spare, are inflated properly.

      * Belt, Hoses and Fluids -- With the engine off, look for worn or cracked belts and damaged, blistered or soft hoses. Inspect the antifreeze/coolant level and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present.

      * Motor Oil -- Check motor oil level and condition. If driving under extreme conditions, such as very hot temperatures or towing a heavy trailer, switch to a motor oil with higher viscosity. Check the owner's manual for specific oil recommendations.

      * Air Conditioning -- A properly working air conditioning system also will help motorists keep their cool in summer heat. If needed, have the air conditioning serviced by a qualified technician, using the refrigerant R-12 in older systems or R-134A in new or modified air conditioners. Do not use non-approved substitute refrigerants.

      * Emergency Kit -- Because even properly maintained vehicles can break down, AAA Minneapolis advises motorists to equip their vehicle with an emergency kit containing at least the following items: A flashlight with extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, and a cellular phone to summon emergency assistance.

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