• Check to see if your oil needs changing. While you're at it, have your belts and hoses checked.
• Keep an eye on those gauges monitoring your car's electrical system, oil pressure and engine temperature. Keep an eye open for illuminated warning or indicator lights. If you see any red lights flashing or shining steadily, you should stop and have your vehicle towed into your local repair facility.
• Inspect your battery and cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt. Replace your battery every four years.
• Always keep your gas tank at least one-quarter full to keep from running out of gas at unexpected times, like highway gridlock.
• Always travel with an emergency kit, just in case. Make sure it includes a flashlight and batteries, flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables and a first-aid kit.
• Never, never leave children or pets alone in a car, even for a minute. A locked car sitting in the summer sun quickly turns into an oven.
• Keep a duplicate car key in your home, in case of a lockout.
Bobby Hamilton, a spokesman for AutoVantage, is the current Nascar Craftsman Truck Series Champion after achieving four career Nascar Winston Cup Series victories. He founded Bobby Hamilton Racing, which owns and operates three trucks in the Nascar circuit. Inspect your battery and cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt.