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used car, used car maintenance, The Auto ConnectionIf you’re one of the millions of Americans making plans to travel by car this summer, make sure your reliable used car is ready to take on all the challenges and pleasures of a good road trip.

Drivers can expect to pay some of the lowest gas prices in 12 years, according to the American Automobile Association. In fact, AAA estimates that drivers in the United States have saved nearly $12 billion on gas already this year compared to the same timeframe in 2015.

It’s no wonder that lower gas prices are why 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year.

Before you hit the road, The Auto Connection offers these important safety and maintenance tips to help keep your family safe and your used car ready for summer travel.

  • Stay alert on the road. Map out your route in advance so you know where you’re going. Plan to make frequent stops so you can stay rested and alert while you drive your used car.
  • Make sure your used car has been serviced regularly. Tune-ups, oil changes, battery check and tire rotations help prevent breakdowns.
  • Check the air pressure of your tires. You should always check the air pressure of your tires once a month, when the tires are cold. That means they haven’t been driven on for at least three hours. Remember that a tire can lose air over time; it doesn’t need to be punctured. And the leading cause of tire failure is underinflation – not having enough air pressure. To figure out your correct tire pressure, look for the label on the driver’s doorframe or in your used car’s owner manual.
  • Inspect your tires for uneven or excessive wear. If the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, you might need to replace your tires. You can always ask the certified auto mechanics at The Auto Connection to look at your used car’s tires if you have any concerns.
  • Inspect belts and hoses. Summer temperatures can take a toll on rubber belts and hoses. If you see signs of obvious wear, get them check out.
  • Keep wiper blades in good shape. If you can’t see where you’re going, you’re more likely to have problems on the road.
  • Check your lights. Make sure all the lights on your used car are working: headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, interior lights and trailer lights. If you’re towing a trailer behind your used car, make sure to check its brake lights and turn signals. When they don’t work, it can pose a serious safety hazard.
  • Service your cooling system if needed. If your coolant appears rusty or you can particles floating around in it, it’s time get your cooling system flushed and refilled.
  • Assess your used car’s fluid levels. Make sure your oil, brake, transmission, power steering and windshield washer fluid reservoirs are full. If you have a fluid leak, take your used car in to be serviced.
  • Check your air conditioning. Aside from keeping people comfortable in hot weather, having a/c is important because people who are in poor health or those who are sensitive to heat – such as children, adults and dogs – can become seriously ill from overheating.

Sources: AAA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

+ Do you need a reliable used car? The Auto Connection staff are happy to help you find the best used car for your budget. Our buy here, pay here program is designed to help people find a used car no matter their credit history.

+ In North Carolina, we have an office in Wilson. Our locations in Virginia include: Danville, Newport News, Norfolk and Richmond.