Get Your Car in Road Trip Shape
Tips and things to check before you hit the open road with our fall travel guide to five New England road trips.
Photo via Thinkstock
Breaking down is no fun, especially on one of New England’s hilly, curvy back roads. Save yourself the headache: AAA Southern New England’s public affairs and traffic safety manager John Paul (aka the â€śCar Doctorâ€ť) tells us which parts to check before turning the key.
Dead batteries and flat tires are the most common reasons AAA goes out for service, Paul says. Check your battery for corrosion and make sure it starts the engine quickly. If itâ€™s older than three years, consider a new one.
Proper tire pressure is essential for good handling and safe steering response, but it also saves fuel. Inflate all four tires to the recommended cold pressure.
Engine oil, coolant, steering fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluidâ€”youâ€™ll need all of these topped off. Be particularly vigilant about checking oil, as many performance cars tend to consume it at higher rates. Some newer cars donâ€™t have dipsticks, so youâ€™ll need to follow instructions from the carâ€™s on-board computer. If you don’t know how to check the levels, see a mechanic.
â€śIf youâ€™re driving to the White Mountains and youâ€™ve got a car with lousy windshield wipers, you donâ€™t want to be stuck with them,â€ť says Paul. This is New England. There’s always a storm brewing. Get a fresh pair.
Headlamps and Taillamps
Do all your lights, brake lamps, reverse lamps, and turn signals work? Have someone take a look for you. Also, use your headlamps (or daytime running lamps, if you have them) on shaded back roads and long stretches of open passing lanes to make sure other drivers can see you.
Once your car is in road trip shape, check out our fall travel guide to five New England road trips.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/09/road-trip-preparation-tips/