Before getting on the road this summer, it's important to check your vehicle's fluid levels, lights and windshield wipers. Check the engine oil, brake fluid, windshield washer and coolant levels when the engine is cold. Once your vehicle is warmed up, check the levels of your transmission fluid and power steering fluid. If any fluid is low, consult your owner's manual for instructions on how to properly add fluids to your vehicle. In addition, make sure to check your lights and windshield wipers. Windshield wipers should be replaced at the first signs of trouble, like streaking or noisy operation, in order to provide the best visibility while on the road.
One of the most important, and most overlooked, components of vehicle safety are the tires. Make sure to check your tire pressure on all of your tires, including the spare, with a tire gauge at least once per month, when the tires are cold or have been driven less than three miles. The recommended tire inflation pressure for your vehicle can be found on the driver's side door jamb, fuel filler lid or glove box or in the owner's manual. In addition to checking your tire-inflation pressure, have an ASE-certified technician inspect your tread depth and tire condition regularly.
Making sure your vehicle is in tip top shape before leaving for a road trip not only will offer peace of mind, it can help you avoid an unnecessary detour to an auto repair shop.
Trisha Hessinger is a former racecar driver and nationally recognized automotive education specialist for Firestone Complete Auto Care.