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Get Your Car in Shape for Summer

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured

Published on June 21, 2017 with No Comments

The days are longer, the sun is stronger and beach season is almost here, but getting in shape for summer means more than hitting the gym. It is also important to keep your car in tip-top shape before you get on the highway for an early summer getaway. Firestone Complete Auto Care has the following tips to get your vehicle road-trip ready:

Preparation

• Before the summer heat hits, be sure to have a full vehicle inspection — including the air conditioner — to be sure it is cooling correctly. Taking this step may help avoid costly repairs.

• Check all four tires, as well as the spare, at least once a month and before every long trip. Use an accurate tire gauge to make certain your tire pressure is at the recommended level. Also, check the treads using a tread depth indicator.

• When you are packing up vacation necessities, take care not to overload your vehicle. This could create excessive heat inside your tires and even cause tire failure.

• Take a few moments to prepare and pack an emergency kit, including jumper cables, a flashlight and batteries, gloves, simple tools, flares, nonperishable food and water, and, if you have one, your auto club membership card.

Getting on the Highway

• Use good driving habits. Accelerating quickly and stopping abruptly can prematurely wear out your vehicle’s engine, transmission, tires and brakes.

• To improve your fuel economy, try to maintain a constant speed in order to reduce strain on your vehicle. Use the cruise control setting when it is safe.

• Caught in traffic with a rising temperature gauge? To eliminate some engine heat and help prevent your vehicle from overheating, put the vehicle in neutral and give it a little gas.

Just like you invest the time to stay in shape, in your haste to get on the road, don’t forget to take the time to make certain your vehicle is up to the task of safely hauling your family to your vacation destination.

Did you know?

• Remove excess weight from your car: Try to leave anything that could be weighing down your car at home. Is your roof rack for skis only? Take it off during the warmer months. Or for canoes and camping equipment on the weekend? Take it off for your daily commute. Not only does a roof rack affect weight, but also aerodynamics—think wind resistance! A large roof-top cargo box can reduce fuel economy by 2% to 8% in city driving and 6% to 17% on the highway, reports FuelEconomy.gov. You may also want to remove third-row seats if not in use, too, and consider keeping just the summer essentials in your trunk

• Check your tire pressure regularly: Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 PSI drop in average pressure of all tires, reports FuelEconomy.gov. With more than 50% of the vehicles on the road driving on at least one under-inflated tire, the savings could really add up for everyone! Monitoring how your tires interact with the road minimizes rolling resistance and wear on tires, leading to a longer life for your tires, a safer ride for you and your friends, and less money spent on gas—all things that make a great summer road trip. Make sure your tires are at the recommended pressure and learn more about the dangers of under- and over-inflation.

• Drive with care: FuelEconomy.gov cautions against aggressive driving (quick acceleration and braking, speeding, excessive idling), stating it can lower fuel efficiency by a surprising 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Drive cautiously and use cruise control to smooth out your speed. Continuing to move at a steady speed uses less fuel than the constant give-and-take of decelerating and accelerating.

 

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