BIDDEFORD, BANGOR, AUGUSTA AND FALMOUTH, MAINE…
Family car trips are as part of American lore as apple pie, fireworks on the 4th of July and presidential elections. Sure, DVD players, satellite radio and handheld video games have made family road trips more tolerable than years ago. Technology notwithstanding, a breakdown of any kind can still turn a family summer road trip into a summer bummer in a heartbeat. That’s why it’s critical to prepare your vehicle before the trip.
“When you see somebody broken down by the side of the road, nine times out of 10 it’s something that probably could have been avoided had they taken proper precautions,” said Tim Haley, owner of Haley’s Tire & Service Center. “If you’re planning a driving vacation with your family, the difference between smooth sailing and being that car along the side is really a matter of making an appointment with a certified mechanic before your trip. And if you’re handy with automobiles, most of these things you can do on your own.”
Haley recommends checking:
- Fluids – Have all your fluids checked prior to your trip. That includes: engine oil; transmission fluid; antifreeze/coolant; radiator coolant; brake fluid; windshield washer fluid; power steering fluid. While many express oil change services will change your oil and do some type of check of fluids and belts, they may not top off things like power steering fluid. Be sure to ask. Also, whatever service you get on your car prior to departure, you want to make sure that filters—oil, air, and gas—have been changed if needed.
- Hoses and belts – Make sure these are tightly secured and in good working order. If you’re not certain of how to do that, make an appointment with a local service technician.
- Tires – The obvious is to make sure you have enough air pressure so you’re getting better gas mileage. Remember, the number on the tire’s side is the maximum pressure it can withstand, not the recommended amount. For summertime driving, your tires should be close but not at the maximum. Never inflate your tires too much as it could provoke a blowout. Before starting any trip, you want to make sure your tires have adequate tread. If your tires look worn and you’re not sure whether the tires need to be replaced or rotated, bring your vehicle to a tire dealer. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 miles. And whatever you do, do not embark on any kind of trip without a spare tire that is also appropriately filled and with sufficient treads.
- Air Conditioning – Nothing turns a driving trip into a summer bummer more than air conditioning not working. If you notice any inconsistencies prior to the trip, be sure to have it checked out.
- Brakes – Brakes are not ordinarily part of an oil change inspection. Many service centers offer a summer maintenance packages that include brake inspections and other precautionary checks, like air conditioning.
- Emergency kit – You can mitigate or even prevent a number of potential road trip difficulties just by packing an adequate emergency kit. This should contain jumper cables, a knife, a flashlight, a multipurpose tool, tire sealant and duct tape.
“Vacation time with your family, even if much of it is in transit, is special time and you want to spend that time having fun, not stuck along an interstate or in a service center waiting room,” said Haley. “By taking these simple precautionary steps, you greatly improve your odds againstunning into a problem on the road, which means more time for fun.”
For more information about Haley’s Tire, including store locations and directions, please visit www.haleystire.com .
About Haley’s Tire
Founded in 1970 by Frederick Haley and Frederick J. Haley, Jr., Haley Tire is a third-generation tire retailer and service center with locations in Augusta, Bangor, Biddeford and Falmouth. Haley Tire is an authorized Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly Tires dealer. Haley Tire’s repair offerings include oil changes, alignments, brakes service (including free brake inspections), transmission maintenance, computerized engine analysis and much more.
For more information on Haley’s Tire, including store hours, locations and directions, please visit www.haleystire.com or call 207-781-3136.