Check all belts, hoses and fluids. With the engine off, look for worn or cracked belts and damaged or soft hoses. Inspect the antifreeze/coolant level and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present. If you’re not comfortable making the checks on your own, bring your car to a mechanic for a seasonal check-up.
Check motor oil level and condition. If you’ll be driving under extreme conditions, such as very hot temperatures or while towing a heavy trailer, you’ll want to switch to a motor oil with higher viscosity. Check your car’s owner's manual for specific oil recommendations.
Because even properly maintained vehicles can break down, AAA 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 if needed.
Once all these checks are taken care of, you’ll be ready to set off. And with gas prices at record high levels -- now topping $3 per gallon for regular unleaded -- you’ll want to make sure you are getting the best gas mileage possible. Here are some ways to make your car more fuel efficient:
* Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires can affect your gas mileage. Also inspect tires, including the spare for signs of uneven or excessive tread wear. You don’t want to have a blow out.
* Put a fuel additive like Marvel Mystery Oil into your gas tank every time you fill up. The additive helps increase your vehicle’s gas mileage by reducing internal friction in the engine.
Marvel recommends you add about four ounces to your tank for every 10 gallons when you fill up. As an added benefit, Marvel Oil reduces the wear and tear on your engine by combating internal motor rust and corrosion, lubricating valves and eliminating valve sticking. So bring a bottle along on your trip.
Marvel Mystery Oil is available at big box and automotive stores nationwide. For more information about its benefits, or to access a store locator, log on to www.marvelmysteryoil.com.