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6 Tips to Plan Your Summer Road Trip

With summer now upon us, knowing how to drive a car will enable you to enjoy one of the most memorable vacation experiences: the road trip. The road trip is a general phrase that describes a long trek made in a vehicle for pleasure. Road trips take a little planning. Here are a few tips that will help make your first road trip a success. 
1 Decide on a destination. It is a good idea to choose a destination that is not too far away for your first road trip. A road trip can span only one day. For example, choose a city a couple of hours away for your first road trip. You will enjoy a nice drive to your destination, spend some time in a new place, and drive back home all in one day. 
2 Choose a route. Many people who take road trips like to take the scenic route to their chosen destination. You can use a map or the internet to plan a route. Some drivers prefer to take a back roads rather than interstate highways when they go on road trips. Although it may take longer to reach your destination on these roads, the views will be much more interesting. The Turquoise Trail in New Mexico is one of thousands scenic roads you can take in the U.S. 
3 Consider your vehicle. Some vehicles simply are not made for long trips. Cars that are especially suited to road trips are convertibles, sports cars, cars that get great gas mileage, and small crossover SUVs. SUVs and minivans are also good road trip vehicles if you are traveling with several people or your family. Vehicles that might not be great choices for road trips are large trucks, large SUVs, and vans. Make sure that you will have plenty of room for your passengers since you will be spending several hours inside the vehicle. Also try to choose a vehicle that gets great gas mileage to reduce the cost of your trip. 
4 Get a tune up. If you are planning on driving your car over a long distance for several days, it is a great idea to let a mechanic check for problems before you depart. Get your oil changed, refill your windshield wiper fluid, and make sure all lights are in working order. These steps will reduce the chance of becoming stranded or experiencing mechanical issues during your road trip. Working car lights ensure that other drivers see you, even in reduced visibility. This is crucial to avoid accidents 
5 Plan for stops. It is reasonable to estimate that you will need to take a break from travelling every two or three hours. If there is an interesting city, park, store, or restaurant that you would like to see on your road trip, schedule stops accordingly. It is all part of the road trip experience. To enjoy the stop, make sure you lock your car and don’t leave valuables in visibility 
6 Bring entertainment. Of course, the driver needs to focus his or her attention on the road. The passengers, however, might want some entertainment along the way. Portable DVD players with headphones, MP3 players, books, crossword puzzles, magazines, and travel journals are some excellent ideas for passing the time on a road trip. 

It is important to remember that the drive is the most important part of a road trip. Don’t be in a rush. If there is something interesting you would like to stop and see, do so. It is all part of the experience. The next time that you plan a vacation for you and your family or a quick getaway for your friends, consider driving instead of flying. You might find that hitting the open road is your preferred means of transportation. (Source: https://driving-tests.org/beginner-drivers/how-to-plan-a-road-trip/)

Top Car Care Tips

We've all heard stories of cars and trucks lasting anywhere from 200,000 to even 500,000 miles.

But how? Three simple words: maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.

Here are some of the top maintenance tips to help make the engine, transmission and other parts of your vehicle last even longer. 

1. Check the oil: The easiest task you can do to increase the longevity of your vehicle is to keep the proper amount of oil in the engine. Also, change the oil and filter as recommended in the manufacturers owner’s manual, or every 3000 miles to be safe.
2. Check power steering fluid: Most older vehicles and even some new models have a hydraulic power steering pump that requires power steering fluid. These pumps have a screw-type cap that lifts off, so the fluid level can easily be checked.
3. Transmission fluid replacement: Having the correct amount of transmission fluid is important because it cools the transmission, lubricates its moving parts, and makes shifting gears smoother. But of course this fluid deteriorates over time. Frequent stop-and-go driving or anything that puts stress on the transmission, such as towing a trailer, accelerates this deterioration. Under these type of conditions the transmission’s operating temperature rises, which puts a strain on the components and the fluid. Automakers recommend you change the fluid more under those conditions. Of course you can check the owner’s manual for more details.
4. Radiator coolant flushing: Coolant has rust inhibitors that break down over time. Rust and corrosion can harm the engine, plug up a thermostat, and damage the water pump. Some automakers recommend changing the coolant every 30,000 miles, while some suggest 100,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to be sure.
5. Top off brake fluid: While you are checking all of your other fluids, it’s a good idea to check the brake fluid level as well. Put your vehicle on a level surface, then remove the reservoir cap. Make sure the brake fluid level is between the minimum and maximum marks on the fluid reservoir. Use the recommended fluid (DOT3, DOT4, etc.) and fill to the proper level.
6. Rotate your tires: Tires aren't cheap, so you want to make them last. Almost all tires should be rotated every 5000 to 6000 miles and alignment checked every 10,000 to 15,000. Also, it is very important to maintain the proper air pressure in each tire. A sticker on the driver’s door frame lists the proper tire pressures for the front and rear tires.
7. Have a clean engine air filter: A clean air filer can help increase your miles per gallon, help engine performance, and contribute to lower engine emissions.

No maintenance required
There are some components on cars that at one time required regular maintenance, but because of technological advances, there’s no need anymore. Ball joints and steering linkage which at one time required lubrication, no longer require it; new spark plugs may last 150,000 miles and at one time vehicle batteries (which are now sealed for lift) needed the water level in the electrolyte periodically checked.
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