Summer Trips and Car Tips

Now that we shared many tips on how to save money by conserving energy and proper maintenance for appliances, it’s time to enjoy a trip with the family. You deserve it!

If you’re like many hardworking families, it is likely the poor economy has hit you in some fashion.  Many families have cut back on family vacations that require air travel and as such they are trekking across the country in their family sedans and SUVs (some of us just like the old car trip and sightseeing the countryside).

For those of us who will be driving the family to the next vacation destination, the key to a good trip is a little careful planning and vehicle maintenance. As far as the planning goes it’s not just about getting from point-A to point-B as quickly as possible… it’s about the journey. Do a little research and see if you can find a few fun points of interest along the way.  True it may make your trip a little longer but it also gives everyone a fun way to break up a long car trip. This task can be assigned to your kids… let them help plan the trip based on their interests.

Now for the car, before any extended road trip it’s important to check all the fluid levels (coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid, automatic transmission, breaks… etc.). I also recommend you check your tire pressure before the trip and inflate your tires to their maximum amount recommended by the car manufacturer (it’s usually posted on a sticker inside the driver’s door or in your owner’s manual or on-line if you cannot find an owner’s manual). A few extra pounds of air in the tires can add up to several extra miles per gallon on the highway. As long as we’re thinking about fuel efficiency make sure your air filter is clean as well.

It’s also a good idea to check the air pressure in your spare tire before making a road trip. Back in the day when we had full service gas stations (Yes, I’m an old dude) we use to check spare tires for air pressure as part of a routine oil change, but I don’t see any of the oil change places or dealerships doing this check any longer. Trust me you don’t want to get a flat in the middle of nowhere only to find out your spare tire doesn’t have sufficient air. Many of us are driving older cars with quite a few miles and I’ll bet most people have never had their spare tire air pressure checked.

Last but not least, it’s a good idea to pack a few basic tools like screw drivers, pliers, a few wrenches and let’s not forget duct tape as it can slow down a leaky hose, substitute as a make shift belt for a few miles or hold up a bumper that decided to fall off… yes this stuff is magic). A flashlight can come in handy at night and road flares are a good idea as well. Keep your family safe.

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  1. Great tip. Not only have I never checked the air pressure in any spare tire, I have not seen the spare tire in our current vehicles. I assume they are there and will never be needed; wishful thinking I know.

    We have the emergency kits (road flares, flash lights, etc.) in both vehicles but have overlooked the spare tire. Time to go out to the garage and and implement this tip.

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