As the warm embrace of summer approaches, millions of Americans eagerly anticipate the joy of road trips and vacations. This summer, more than 75% of American adults are planning to embark on road adventures, which translates to nearly 196 million people on the highways. The allure of the open road is undeniable, offering the promise of new experiences and cherished memories. However, with this excitement comes the responsibility of ensuring that your vehicle is prepared for the journey, particularly in states like Arizona where extreme heat poses additional risks. The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management’s Arizona Dispatch Center has highlighted the dangers, noting that wildland firefighters often respond to fires caused by tire blowouts, dragging trailer chains, and overheating vehicles. To help you avoid such mishaps, Dealer Principal at Yates Buick GMC, Whitney Yates-Woods, offers a comprehensive service checklist to ensure your car is ready for summer road trips.

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Test the AC

The last thing anyone wants on a summer road trip is a malfunctioning air conditioning system. The heat, especially in places like Arizona, can be unbearable. Therefore, it’s crucial to have your AC system checked and serviced if necessary. This ensures you and your passengers stay cool and comfortable throughout your journey. A properly functioning AC not only keeps the cabin temperature bearable but also helps in maintaining driver alertness and overall comfort.

Check Tire Air Pressure

Whitney Yates-Woods is Dealer Principal of family-owned Yates Buick GMC in Goodyear.

Proper tire maintenance is critical for safe driving. Check the air pressure in all your tires, including the spare. Under-inflated tires can overheat and are more prone to blowouts, which can be particularly dangerous on hot summer roads. Over-inflated tires, on the other hand, can reduce traction and make your ride less comfortable. Refer to your vehicle’s manual for the recommended tire pressure and adjust accordingly to ensure a safe and smooth drive.

Top Off Engine Fluids

Your vehicle relies on a variety of fluids to keep everything running smoothly. This includes engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Before setting off, ensure all these fluids are topped off and in good condition. Neglecting this can lead to overheating, poor vehicle performance, and potential breakdowns, which are not only inconvenient but can also be dangerous.

Get Oil and Filter Changed

Regular oil changes are essential for keeping your engine running efficiently. Fresh oil ensures that your engine is properly lubricated, reducing friction and heat. Alongside the oil change, replacing the oil filter is crucial as it removes contaminants from your engine oil that can cause wear and tear over time. This simple maintenance step can significantly extend the life of your engine and improve your vehicle’s performance.

Test Brakes

Safety should always be a top priority, and that starts with your vehicle’s braking system. Have your brakes inspected by a professional to ensure they are in good working order. This includes checking the brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid. Functional brakes are vital for safe driving, especially when traveling through mountainous regions or during sudden stops in traffic.

Replace Windshield Wipers

Clear visibility is crucial for safe driving, particularly during summer thunderstorms. Inspect your windshield wipers for any signs of wear and replace them if necessary. New wipers can make a significant difference in maintaining clear visibility during heavy rain, ensuring you can see the road and any potential hazards.

Replace Air Filter

A clean air filter ensures that your engine receives the right amount of air for optimal performance and efficiency. Over time, air filters can become clogged with dust and debris, which can reduce your engine’s efficiency and increase fuel consumption. Replacing the air filter is a simple yet effective way to improve your vehicle’s performance and fuel economy.

Rotate Tires

Tire rotation is an often-overlooked maintenance task that can extend the life of your tires and improve your vehicle’s handling. Regularly rotating your tires ensures even wear, which can prevent blowouts and improve traction. This is particularly important for long road trips where you’ll be putting a lot of miles on your tires.

Test Car Battery

Extreme temperatures can be hard on your car battery. Have your battery tested to ensure it’s holding a charge and functioning properly. If your battery is more than three years old, consider replacing it to avoid any unexpected failures during your trip.

Pack a First Aid Kit

Safety on the road isn’t just about your vehicle; it’s also about being prepared for any emergencies. Pack a first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and any necessary medications. Having a well-stocked first aid kit can be invaluable in case of minor injuries or health issues while traveling.

Top Off Coolant Levels

Finally, ensure your vehicle’s coolant levels are topped off. Coolant prevents your engine from overheating and maintains optimal operating temperatures. Running low on coolant can lead to engine overheating, which can cause significant damage and leave you stranded. Check the coolant level and top it off if necessary, and consider having the cooling system inspected for any leaks or issues.

As you prepare for your summer road trips, taking the time to perform these essential maintenance tasks can save you from the inconvenience and potential dangers of roadside emergencies. Following the expert advice from Whitney Yates-Woods at Yates Buick GMC will ensure your vehicle is ready to tackle the summer heat and long miles ahead. With your car in top condition, you can focus on enjoying your journey and creating unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Safe travels!