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Automotive tasks to remember before taking to the road for vacation

Posted On Mon, June 10, 2013

With many workers taking their vacation time and as kids get out of school, summer is routinely one of the most highly trafficked seasons of the year, as families get away from the daily grind and enjoy the warmth. But before they do that, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers travelers some tips to keep in mind before they hit the road.

Staying on top of automotive related repair tasks is imperative. NHTSA noted that keeping a regular maintenance schedule - one where tune-ups are kept track of, as well as oil changes, battery checks and tire rotations - will enable drivers to determine when the last time was that they had their vehicle serviced. For example, as a general rule, tires should be rotated every 6,000 miles or so and the oil should be changed every 5,000 miles.

It's the engine that is the lifeblood of any car, and the only way it will continue to function at a healthy clip is by looking under the hood on occasion. NHTSA says that hoses and belts should be looked at to check for signs of blistering, cracking or if any cuts are visible in the rubber. While these flaws can occur at any time of the year, they're more likely to occur in the summer due to the hot temperatures.

Take a look at the fluid levels
It's also vital to check the various fluids in the engine, such as the antifreeze - which keeps conditions cooler - as well as the brake liquid, windshield, transmission and power steering fluids. All of these can be checked relatively quickly by looking at the respective reservoirs.

Despite taking all the measures needed to avoid a car problem, cars can still break down. While a cellphone will enable someone whose broken down to contact a person for help, every motorist ought to keep an emergency roadside kit in their car that has flares, a flashlight, jumper cables and drinking water. This can give motorists the resources they need to resolve any issues that may arise after breaking down and potentially fix the problem on their own.

Something else to keep in the car is insurance information. While auto insurance rates may provide motorists with information about prices, details about a policy will provide them with the particulars they need to know in the event they get into an accident. The Insurance Information Institute provides motorists with a list of things drivers should be sure to do after an accident.

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