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How to get your car road trip ready for summer travels

Review these tips before hitting the road

MAINE, USA — It’s summer and a lot of folks are planning road trips for this weekend of 4th of July or for summer plans. 

"We've definitely seen a lot more customers coming in for thorough check-ups of their cars," said Heath Kennie, Bangor's (Odlin Road) VIP Tires & Service Assistant Manager.

Here are some important tips from VIP Tires & Service that you should check before getting behind the wheel for a long drive:

  1. Tires – Be sure you have adequate tread, tire pressure, and tires don’t show signs of uneven wear or choppiness, which can signify your alignment being out. Has your TPMS light come on? Get your tires checked for leaks before you hit the road, so you don’t end up with a preventable flat tire.
  2. Lights – You may need someone to help you with this. With your vehicle running, check your brake lights, high beams, and blinkers to be sure that all your lights are in working order.
  3. Fluids – One of the easiest things to check before a long trip. Pop your hood open and check your oil level, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant.
  4. Brakes – There are some checks that you’ll need to perform when your vehicle is in motion. Test your car’s brakes safely while in motion and note if it requires extra pressure, or if there are strange smells, vibrations, or your vehicle pulls to the side while braking. In addition to ensuring that your brakes feel right and are performing adequately, you should check your emergency brake as well. Consult your owner’s manual if you’re unsure how to engage and disengage properly.
  5. Belts – While you have your hood up, do a visual inspection of the belts you can see. If your belts look frayed, cracked, or make squealing noises when you start your vehicle, consider having them inspected by your mechanic or replacing them before your trip.
  6. Check your spare – check the spare tire before you head off on your next long trip. If you haven’t checked it in a while, check its pressure as it’s likely to lose inflation over time. It is also an excellent time to make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle.
  7. Check for leaks –  If you notice puddles of fluids on your garage floor or driveway, you might have a leak. You’ll want to have leaks professionally checked before hitting the open road.
  8. Wipers – Hopefully, there will be no need to use them during the beautiful weather of summer. But, if you get caught in a freak thunderstorm, you’ll want to make sure that your wipers are working correctly. Wipers that cannot keep up with rain, leave streaks, or can’t clean the windshield properly are safety hazards.
  9. Steering – Some tests can only happen while you’re driving your vehicle, such as steering checks. While driving, be sure that your car isn’t pulling in one direction or the other. It can indicate alignment or steering issues. Be aware of any unusual vibrations or concerning noises while you’re doing your road test.
  10. Check your battery. Batteries can last about 4-5 years. If it’s been a long time or your vehicle seems sluggish to start, you’ll want to get it checked. This is especially important if you run onboard DVD players to keep your children occupied. They can drain a lot of power from your battery in the heat.

You can also have a professional mechanic check your car.

"About 29 bucks, we call it used vehicle inspection," said Bruce Morin, the service manager at VIP Tires & Service in Bangor.

Another important thing to consider if to have an emergency kit handy that includes a safety vest, a flashlight, jumper cables, a tool kit, a first aid kit, water, a phone charger, extra flashlight batteries, and even non-perishable food items.

Remember to always clean those high touch points in your car like the steering wheel, door handles key fob, touchscreens, glove compartment, window buttons, armrest, to keep your vehicle COVID-19 free.

  • You can use a cloth with some hand sanitizer on it. (70% or more alcohol content).
  • A disinfectant wipe or disinfectant cleaner

***Before you clean your leather or seats it is important that you first test your cleaners on a surface that may not be visible, like the bottom of your seat. That way, you know the cleaner won't damage your seats.

"It's not wise that you get some bleach or hydroperoxide and start cleaning your car, that will definitely ruin the interior of your car," said Kennie.

VIP Tires & Service has different locations throughout the state that offers the service for about $29 dollars.

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