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Prepare your car before setting out on a road trip

Times staff and wires

Are you planning a trip for the Memorial Day weekend? Before you hit the road, make sure your car is ready. "Preparing your car for the busy season of car trips and hot weather is so important, but is often an afterthought," said Tom Samon, ASE master technician for CarMax. "Taking a few preventive measures can keep your car running smoothly and help you avoid costly repairs. Here are some tips from technicians:

Change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles or at the manufacturer's recommendation, and have the air filter and PCV valve checked and replaced if needed.

Always wax your car after washing. The wax will protect the paint from the damaging ultraviolet rays.

Preventive maintenance. Have your vehicle looked at by a professional automotive technician. Prevention can help extend the life of your car and improve gas mileage.

Other checkpoints

Engine coolant, belts and hoses. Hoses deteriorate from the inside out and summer driving gives your cooling system a workout.

Lights and wipers. Check for cracks in the lamp lenses. You should also replace wiper blades each spring and fall for optimum visibility in the rain.

Wheels and tires. Check tires for abnormal wear, and rotate them if needed. The tire pressure should be set at the recommended levels. Make sure your spare is in good condition. Check the wheels and inspect the brakes and rotors.

Electric and AC: Check the charge of the car battery. And make sure your air conditioner is in good working order. You don't want to get stuck in the heat.

Prepare your car before setting out on a road trip 05/13/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 3:42pm]
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