Preparing for summer road trips with car maintenance

This summer, thousands of people across the country itching to get away will pack up and take a vacation. Though they may be ready to leave, are their cars?

A record breaking 47 million people will travel this Independence Day holiday by plane, bus or car. Car experts say those traveling by car should make sure it’s up to snuff to avoid roadside headaches.

According to Advanced Auto Repair Technician Nathan Anderson, it’s important to check your car’s mechanical functions before setting out on any long trip. 

"It’s really good to keep up on your maintenance, preferably not the day before you go on a vacation," said Anderson. "It’s nice to get that done a week or two before so you can get some miles on it and make sure everything is tip top."

Anderson said routine oil changes, topping off your coolant, and checking the status of your tires can save headaches down the line. He also recommends that you keep a tire pressure gauge as well. In addition to the hot summer sun, the friction of your tires on the road can cause the air inside of your tires to heat up and expand, causing a blowout.

According to Rhonda Keller, the branch manager of AAA Rapid City, most accidents in South Dakota happen in the summer.

"The reason we have more accidents in the summer is because of more people on the road," said Keller. "We have motorcycles on the road as Rapid City is aware; we have a lot of motorcycles. We have the tourists here, we have road construction, so all of those things attribute to more accidents in the summer than in the winter."

Keller also said if your car breaks down, be sure to keep an emergency kit filled with survival essentials. Water, sunscreen and snacks can go a long way when stranded on the side of the road.

Ultimately, said Anderson, preparing for your road trip this summer is about taking preventative measures.

"People will be driving along the interstate, break down, and now it’s an emergency and we’re trying to find someone to fix our car that day, and parts may or may not be available," Anderson said. "It’s good to plan as much ahead as you can."

Categories: Local News