The last place you want to see fireworks is inside your car or truck. A few simple safety checks in the driveway before your family vacation can help avoid the short fuses, inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down many miles away from home.
I’ve been in a car that nearly caught fire, and it was one of the scariest moments of my life. Luckily, my two kids and I, and the friend who was driving, got out just in time. Here are some July Fourth car safety tips from the Car Care Council to do now, so you and Old Breakdown are ready to go later this week:
Check all fluids, including engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer solvent and power steering, brake and transmission fluids.
- Check 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. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. Always check tires when they are cold, since driving even a few miles can throw off the reading.
- Check wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and inspect and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.
- Restock the emergency kit that should be in your trunk or cargo bay at all times, and consider a brake inspection and tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy.
- Check gas caps and replace them if they are damaged, loose or missing, to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating – or being siphoned away from somebody with less scruples than you..
On the road, save wear and tear on your vehicle – and save money at the gas pump – by observing the speed limit, avoiding aggressive driving such as jack rabbit starts and slam-dunk braking, and and excessive idling.
Be a safe and smart ecoXplorer.