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The Four Bs of a Roadtrip

By Audra Fordin, December 12, 2011

Are you planning a road trip this winter?

When you are figuring out where to go and what to pack, and contemplating the fun you are going to have, probably the last thing on your mind is your car. But let me tell you, I have seen more than my share of ruined vacations due to a vehicle problem.

With just a little preparation, you can prevent a few common problems, the four Bs—blowouts, bad batteries, broken belts, and bugs!

Blowouts
Before you head out, take a look at your tire tread and sidewalls for cracks, cuts, bulges, and dry rot. Make sure your tire pressure is set to the manufacturers specifications for your car on all of the wheels, including the lonely and often forgotten spare tire. Finding a potential problem before you leave will keep you safe and help you get better gas mileage.

Bad Batteries
When the engine won’t start or turn over, more often than not, it’s a bad battery. Have your charging system checked before you head out. Most batteries have their birth date stamped on them, so you can check it yourself. If it’s five years old, don’t chance it—change it!

Broken Belts
Drive belts run all of the accessories on your engine, including your water pump, power steering, and alternator. Open the hood and look at them. If they are cracked, frayed, worn, or if you haven’t replaced them in a long while, have them inspected. If your timing belt is near the recommended time for replacement, don’t play Russian roulette. Take care of it before it becomes a problem.

Bugs
Dirt and bugs from the road will make it very difficult for you to see if your wipers and washer fluid are not working well. Remember—90 percent of all decisions made when you’re driving are based on visibility, so make sure you can see properly!

Be careful and be prepared before you head out to ensure you have a fun and safe road trip!

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