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To the Editor: Pre-trip vehicle checks for safer, gas-saving summer road trips

July 6, 2011

With millions of people hitting the road this summer, two things will be on their minds — getting to their destination safely and the high price of gas.

To avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down miles away from home, the Car Care Council recommends a pre-trip vehicle inspection to make sure your vehicle is safe for travel and getting more miles to the gallon.

• Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy.

• Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.

• Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.

• Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

• Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Under-inflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy, and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

• Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

Also, by avoiding aggressive driving, observing the speed limit and avoiding excessive idling, you will spend less on fuel and have more money for summer fun.

To help you drive smart and save money, visit www.carcare.org and check out the free digital Car Care Guide.

Rich White
Executive Director
Car Care Council
Bethesda, Md.

From the July 6-12, 2011, issue

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