By April Morton

(CBS DETROIT) – According to Trip Advisors summer 2021 travel index over two-thirds of Americans are planning a trip this summer. During the pandemic a record number of those summer travelers will do so by car.

“We’ve seen a big uptick in people coming in to get their cars ready to go on summer road trips,” said Tom Peter, Store Manager of Belle Tire Auburn Hills.

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Peter says, there’s a few safety checks you want to do before hitting the road.

“There’s obviously a few things that are really, really critically important, but I would say for sure your tires, maybe check the air pressure, check some treads see if there’s good tread on them,” Peter said.

He says they offer free visual checks at Belle Tire, but you can check the air pressure yourself, using something you already have.

“You can use the penny trick take Abe Lincoln’s head stick the penny in the tread if you can see the top of his head it’s probably time for some tires,” said Peter.

Peter says you also want to check your battery and brakes, as well oil levels.

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“As long as you’re kind of in that operating range between the little holes on the dip stick there’s plenty of oil at the bottom you’re good to go,” said Peter. “The last thing you want is to be stuck on a freeway somewhere because you didn’t check something before you left.”

Here are Belle Tire’s top five tips to get your vehicle ready for the road and keep your family safe.

  1. Check your tires. Start by examining your tread. Tires that are worn to the 2/32” level should be replaced before your trip. You will also want to inspect the general condition of the tread and sidewall. In addition to the tread, you will want to check your tire pressure. Ensuring your tires have the right amount of air in them doesn’t just ensure a safe ride, it also saves money on gas. Having your tires properly inflated is the fastest, simplest and cheapest way to make sure your vehicle is getting better gas mileage.
  1. Check your battery and brakes. Yes, car batteries can die in the summer too. In fact, extreme summer temperatures can drain it, impacting its ability to perform. Batteries typically last between three to five years. When doing a visual inspection, look to see if the battery cables and clamps are frayed or corroded. If you notice either of these things, it’s time to seek professional help. Also, if you notice any cracks in the battery case, have it replaced. In addition to your battery, make sure your brakes are in good working condition. If you hear squealing when you stop, or if you push the brake pedal down to the floor and the car doesn’t immediately stop, your brake pads may need replaced. Also, if your brake pedal pulsates or vibrates, your rotors may be warped and you should see a mechanic immediately.

 

  1. Check your oil level. The last thing you want to do on a road trip is damage your engine. Maintaining a proper oil level not only keeps your vehicle in good working condition, it can also improve your car’s gas mileage. If your vehicle has been sitting idle for a while, you may want to consider getting an oil change before your trip.
  1. Check your lights. Be sure all your vehicle’s lights—which include headlights, break lights, turn signal lights and emergency lights—are functioning properly. Properly functioning lights ensure other drivers can see you, even if visibility is reduced, and help reduce the risk of accidents.
  1. Pack a roadside emergency kit. No one plans to breakdown, but accidents sometimes happen. So, it still pays to be prepared. Be sure to pack a kit for emergencies that includes jumper cables, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, water and snacks. In addition, make sure you have a jack and tire iron in your car in case you get a flat tire. And, check to make sure the spare tire has the proper amount of air. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a flat tire, all Belle Tire locations will fix a flat tire for free, even if you didn’t purchase it at that location.

If you notice any issues and want to get your vehicle checked before hitting the road, all Belle Tire locations also offer a free visual vehicle inspection. Commonly ignored symptoms like your wheel drifting or shaking may not seem like a big deal, but it should be addressed to ensure a safe road trip for your family.

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April Morton