Keeping your car safe for Labor Day road trips

29 Aug 2007 | Lance Cpl. Thomas Hermesman

With Labor Day weekend on the way and travel plans being made, keeping your vehicle maintained will be the key to trouble-free travel in the heat.

Vehicles are made to operate in most extreme conditions, but if not attended to, the systems designed to keep the engine running cool will fail and leave you stranded.

Most cars owner’s manuals list suggested intervals for changing fluids and parts that routinely wear down.

“Changing the fluids on a very regular basis will make the car last longer and run better in these conditions,” said Camp Lejeune’s Auto Hobby Shop manager Steve Trubilla.

Flushing the radiator is one of the best things that can be done to keep the cooling system running right, said Trubilla. Flushing the system cleans out debris and dirt that build up from regular driving.

“Having a standard flush done on the radiator once a year is the best idea,” Trubilla explained.

The cooling system is just one of the many intertwined systems in a car that need to be serviced regularly.

Most things that need to be maintained on regular basis can be done with almost no professional help. One example is keeping the coolant mixed 50 percent with distilled water in the summer months, said Trubilla. This simple step saves money on coolant and helps ensure the vehicle can keep its temperature regulated.

Basic inspections of the vehicle’s engine compartment can also keep you moving this summer.

“Make sure the belts are tight and there are not any cracks in them,” Trubilla said. “Rotating your tires after every other oil change will help with gas mileage and performance of the car.”

Trubilla also suggested a seasonal emergency kit be put into the car just in case it is ever needed. Some things he suggested to be included in the kit are bottles of water, blankets, first aid kit and equipment to change a tire. Another thing that can help is to ensure that someone has a cell phone and charger at all times.

“If proper preplanning for a trip is taken almost all mishaps can be handled quickly and safely, and make sure some one knows where you go just in case,” advised Trubilla.