How to get your car ready for holiday travel

Friday is July Fourth and almost 35 million Americans will hit the highway, traveling at least 50 miles from their homes, according to AAA auto club. That is the highest number of road travelers since 2007.

Independence Day travel will run from Wednesday to Sunday. Before you hit the road, you will want to get your car ready for the highway. Pam Oakes, car technician, shop owner and author of “Car Care for the Clueless,” suggests taking your car to an ASE-certified technician for a quick check of the following:

1. Oil: If you’ll be doing lots of driving, get your oil changed. Be sure you know what brand and weight your car takes in case you have problems on the road. Have the technician write the information down for you and store it in your car manual.

2. Antifreeze/coolant: This keeps the engine cool and keeps it from freezing over in the winter. While the fluid has nothing to do with your AC, if your car overheats, the AC won’t work.

3. Windshield wiper blades: Make sure you clean your blades before you travel or have them replaced if necessary. To clean them yourself, use a cleaner like 409 and paper towels.

4. Transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid: Be sure the technician checks each of these fluids. Also have the condition of the brake pads on the front and back of the car checked. If you’ve had any issues with the brakes, be sure to ask about it.

5. Battery: Have your car battery checked to be sure it is in top working condition, and have any battery acid residue cleaned.

6. Tire conditions: Get your tires checked for wear before you leave and check the tire pressure. While you’re on the road, get in the habit of checking your tires when you stop to pump gas. Turn your wheels away from the pump and look at the tread, Oakes says. If it looks funny, have it checked out immediately. Also keep track of your tire pressure. The proper pressure can be found on the driver’s side door jamb sticker.

7. Lights: Before you leave, pull the car in your driveway at dusk and check your turn signals, brake lights, parking lights, headlights and horn to make sure all are in working order.

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