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The average age of vehicles on American roads today recently reached an all-time high of 11.4 years, according to Polk market research. It’s been climbing steadily (the average was only 9.6 years in 2002), and Polk projects it will continue to rise. Today’s vehicles are built better than ever, and with proper maintenance and care, they can endure a long time. With older vehicles on the road, though, proper preventive maintenance is more important than ever — especially when preparing for long summer road trips. You don’t want to be far from home with a vehicle full of luggage and kids when something on the vehicle wears out or fails due to age. So follow these summer vehicle tips to keep your ride running right, beat the heat and conquer the miles ahead.
Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle, and manufacturer’s recommend changing the oil and filter at regular intervals. Bring your vehicle to Jiffy Lube® where we can also check your radiator coolant, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid — and top off or change them as necessary.
Driving through summer showers with dirty or old wiper blades is neither fun nor safe. When you’re washing those bugs off the windshield with the gas station squeegee, take another moment to run a paper towel over your wiper blades to clean off gunk and grime. Check your car's wiper blades for cracks and tears, and be sure to replace them at the interval specified by your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. Or ask your service technician to take a look the next time you’re at Jiffy Lube®.
Check the pressure and wear on your tires regularly, while also rotating and balancing them. Overinflated or underinflated tires can weaken your tires’ inner structure, cause uneven tread wear, and impact your gas mileage. You can find the proper tire pressure in your owner's manual or on a decal, often located in your vehicle's door jamb. For the most accurate reading, check the pressure when the tire is cold or at air temperature. Be sure to check the spare too! We can do this while you’re at Jiffy Lube®, but it’s best if you check the pressure weekly during your extended summer driving.
Have a professional perform a cooling system check to ensure your vehicle’s engine stays cool throughout the summer heat. We can check the coolant and hoses at Jiffy Lube®. What can you do? Over time, dirt, bugs, leaves and other debris can collect on the radiator and interfere with the cooling system. Spray the radiator grill with a hose when you wash your vehicle to remove debris. This will also allow air to flow freely to your air conditioner.
The dirtier the air filter, the less clean air can get to your engine, which can affect performance and fuel efficiency. See your owner's manual for how often it should be replaced.
Pull together an emergency kit to keep in your trunk. Include items such as bottled water, a flashlight, flares, duct tape, batteries, jumper cables, energy bars, a blanket and pair of gloves, emergency phone numbers, first aid supplies and a can of Fix-A-Flat® inflator and sealer. Include rain gear or other equipment appropriate to the climate where you’ll be driving. You can never be too prepared for seasonal driving.
Excess weight makes your engine work harder and use more gasoline, affecting fuel efficiency. This is especially important to consider for long summer road trips. Match the load rate of your vehicle (found in the owner's manual or inside the driver's side door) with the estimated weight of your family and the luggage you'll be packing for the trip to maximize your gas mileage. Visit fueleconomy.gov for more information on fuel efficiency and ways to save.