Motorists who perform simple driveway inspections could save themselves from the inconvenience of a roadside breakdown this summer.


Motorists who perform simple driveway inspections could save themselves from the inconvenience of a roadside breakdown this summer.

 

“No one wants to experience car trouble while on vacation,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “A simple vehicle inspection can help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down many miles away from home.”

 

White said motorists can use a simple 10-minute driveway inspection to determine how road ready their vehicles are. If problems are identified and maintenance is needed, it can be performed prior to the trip.

The Car Care Council recommends that drivers:

Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen

Sean Hudson of Hudson Tire Center said he often gets calls from motorists who have experienced problems on the road that could have easily been prevented.
“Check the tread on your tires and if the air pressure is low, get it fixed before your trip,” he said.
Hudson said hot weather causes just as much stress on batteries as frigid winter temperatures. Extreme heat affects the corrosion factor within a battery. And battery temperatures under the hood of an automobile can reach 175 degrees to 200 degrees in extreme conditions.
Gale Kimbrough, Interstate Batteries’ hot weather expert, offers the following guidelines for motorists when caring for their batteries:

Wear protective eye wear, remove all jewelry and wear long sleeves to protect the skin from an explosion of battery acid Inspect the battery case for signs of extreme bulging, cracked or leaking, and replace it if necessary Clean up the connections by removing any corrosion, lead oxidation, paint or rust from the top of the battery with a scouring pad or brass brush. If the battery has removable filler caps, open the caps and check the water level in each cell Make sure the plates are at least half covered and if the water level is low, add distilled water until the plates are covered Avoid overfilling, especially in hot weather, because the heat can cause the solution inside to expand and overflow Have the battery and electrical system professionally tested every three to six months and especially prior to heading out on a trip

Many automobile dealers and parts centers provide motorists with a free printout analysis of their vehicle’s battery condition. The Car Care Council also recommends that motorists restock their emergency kits and consider a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy.