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Ten tips to keep your car running smoothly

Whether it’s the annual family, cross-country getaway, shuttling the kids to the ballpark in town or just a leisurely Sunday drive along the parkway, for Americans, the open road beckons.

1) Fill the fluids. Humans run into problems if they don’t get enough fluids, and that goes for your car, too — especially in the warmer months. Check your car’s vital fluid systems to ensure that your oil, coolant, transmission, brake and windshield wiper fluid levels are where they’re supposed to be, and make sure hoses are intact and free of leaks.

2) Give the glass a good once-over. Your car’s windshield is important for fuel economy, comfort and safety. It even plays a part in the crash-worthiness of your car. Check your windshield and all your auto glass for chips or cracks. Since almost any driving route can put you behind a large truck or trailer, you may incur windshield damage on the road. It’s a good idea to keep the Harmon AutoGlass toll-free number handy to help you find a qualified glass service center to make a repair or replacement. When you do, always insist on only the highest quality glass, adhesives and installation.

3) Watch for workers. Before setting out, check newspapers or online for road projects, lane or road closures, and expected slowdowns along your route. When approaching or passing through a work zone, slow down and allow some extra space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. The crews will appreciate it, and since fines are often higher in work zones, you might save yourself a pricey ticket.

4) Scan the skies. The perils of winter driving get a lot of attention, but summer weather conditions can be equally treacherous. With today’s advanced weather forecasting technologies, you can stay abreast of summer storms, intense heat or high winds that might threaten your travel route. As you travel, know the names of the counties along your route so you can know which weather watches and warnings affect you. Before setting out, see that your tires, lights, glass and wipers are in good condition to perform well in the rain.

5) Belt yourself. And your kids. It’s a familiar message, but an important one. Seat belts save lives, and in most places, it’s against the law to drive without them. Take the extra time needed to ensure that the driver and all passengers are securely buckled up with a lap and shoulder belt or an approved, properly installed child restraint. Resist the urge to make “just a short trip” unbuckled.

6) Keep your cool. Hot summer temperatures, heavy holiday traffic or shrieking kids in the backseat can test the temper of any driver. Whatever the conditions, stay calm behind the wheel. Too often, aggressive or hostile driving brings sad results with tragic effects lasting long after the anger is forgotten. Drive politely and avoid offensive gestures to other drivers that might elevate tensions.

7) Stay sober. “Good times” can turn bad quickly when alcohol and driving mix. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let others do it, either. If you see a drunk driver, alert the police.

8) Don’t boil over. Your car’s gauges are always telling you something. Pay attention to them. If your temperature gauge is climbing or reading higher than normal, you may be in danger of overheating. Switching on your car’s heater and reducing your speed are temporary methods that might help cool the engine, but it’s important to have the condition diagnosed and repaired quickly by a professional service person. And never remove a radiator cap when the engine is warm. Again, have your dealer’s toll-free service number with you in case you need sudden repairs or parts.

9) Closed cars + hot days = danger. On warm days, temperatures within a closed car can shoot to deadly levels within mere minutes — even with the windows cracked. Those left inside can face heatstroke or suffocation. Be on the safe side and don’t leave kids or pets alone in a closed car for any length of time.

10. Get your rest. Long drives can be tiring. Don’t overextend yourself. Instead of trying to make that long family trip in one shot, consider breaking long drives into shorter sections. Make sure you are properly rested, that you take enough breaks to ensure your senses are intact, and that you’re at peak performance when you’re behind the wheel.

This handy check-list was developed by the experts at Harmon AutoGlass to help you “see your way” to a safe and trouble-free driving. Courtesy of ARA Content, aracontent.com

02/04/2010. Category: vehicles. Tags: , , .

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