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Traveling and your Car

Year after year, we climb into our cars for a road trip. Looking for fun, entertainment, heading off to work, or for a visit with relatives, we rely on our vehicles constantly. Summer and winter driving are a little different, and here I hope to give you a few great tips that you will remember when you need them most. Prevention is the key to getting where you want and on time no matter what. 

For summer driving, it is most important that you check your radiator cooling level. No matter how new your car is, or how old your car is, it is possible that a leak can spring in the radiator or in a hose that will cause your coolant to leak out. If all of your coolant leaks from your car, your car will over heat and leave you stranded with a big repair bill. 

Check the belts on your car every spring. It is something that we do not think about too often but the belts that run your alternator or fans can crack and wear quickly. When a belt breaks and you are out on a road trip or you are on your way to an important meeting, there is no quick fix. Replace belts on your car when they are looking a little worn. Most belts will last a few years, sometimes five to ten years but the hot and cold temperatures differences can make a belt wear a little faster. 

If you find that your car is over heating, never open the radiator lid because any hot coolant in the radiator can spew out and burn you. Let the motor cool down for about half an hour at least before opening the radiator. 

When you are traveling down the highway and your motor begins to overheat, there are a few tricks that you can use to get to the next rest stop or you can get to work fast. The first thing you need to do is turn off the air conditioning. This is going to take some of the stress off your motor. 

Another thing that you can do to prolong your travels when the motor is over heating is to turn the heat on full blast. Turning on the defroster works fast and you can watch the gauge and travel a bit further. 

Driving in the winter months can be just as hard on your vehicle as the high temperatures of summer are. The coolant in the radiator is very important for your winter driving to keep your motor from freezing while driving. The coolant should never be all water. When the coolant is all water it will freeze, and when you start your car you can do real damage to the interior parts of your engine. 

Check your coolant levels, and check the freezing temperatures of your coolant. It is easy to check the coolant temperature levels. There is a little tool that you use to suck out some of the coolant and the levels of the balls floating in the tool will then tell you what temperatures your coolant will be good for. 

Living in the coldest areas of the world, you need better antifreeze than other areas where the winters are very mild. You can have any mechanic check your coolant level in just seconds. 

Another important part of your car during the coldest of winter days is your car battery. Do you know how old your car battery is? When is the last time you asked your mechanic to test your battery? Batteries do have warranties and if your battery if more than seven years old you might want to consider getting a fresh battery for traveling during the winter months without problems. When your battery dies, you find that your car wont start when it is so cold outside, leaving you stranded. 

For those long winter travels or even just those short jaunts up the highway you should be sure to keep extra blankets, flares, windshield washer fluid, and an ice scraper so you are prepared for all types of emergencies. 

Windshield washer fluid is important for your car. If you are using plain water and you spray it over your windows during the winter months, you can find ice forming fast when you are driving down the road during the coldest months. Windshield washer fluid is made so that it will not freeze on your window. 

Be prepared for all types of weather by keeping your car on a regular maintenance schedule. A vehicle can run for hours and hours taking you places you have always wanted to see, and places that you just have to get to when you take a little extra time to put the care into your vehicle.

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