(NewsUSA) - The temperatures are rising, and so are the numbers of vehicles on the road. Summer is right around the corner, bringing with it a number of road trips to the beach for many families.
Avoid putting a damper on your travel plans by following these summer vehicle maintenance tips from your loyal friends at Firestone Complete Auto Care.
* Check your air conditioning system before the summer heat hits to make sure that it seems to be cooling effectively. An annual full-vehicle inspection, including the air conditioning system, may help avoid costly repairs.
* Check your vehicle's fluid levels. Check the engine oil and coolant level when the engine is cold. Once your vehicle is warmed up, check your transmission fluid and power steering fluid. If any fluid is low, add only enough to bring the indicator to "full" -- never overfill. Have your Firestone Complete Auto Care automotive technician regularly check your vehicle's brake fluid level and condition.
* Do not overload your vehicle. Overloading creates excessive heat inside your tires and can cause tire failure, which could result in vehicle damage and serious injury. Remember that you and your passengers count toward the total recommended vehicle weight.
* To get the best fuel economy while traveling, be aware of the following:
1. Due to vehicle aerodynamics, it can be more economical to run your air conditioner than to cruise with windows open.
2. When possible, maintain a constant speed to reduce strain on your vehicle's systems. If it's safe to do so and traffic is not too heavy, use the cruise control setting per your owner's manual directions.
3. Do not let your vehicle idle for extended periods; restarting your engine uses less fuel than keeping your vehicle running.
4. Keep your tires properly inflated; under-inflated tires can lower fuel economy.
5. Use the recommended grade of gasoline specified by your vehicle manufacturer. Mid-grade or premium fuels are unnecessary unless they are recommended.
Nobody wants to be stranded in a broken-down vehicle on a hot, stuffy day. Avoid a "mayday" this season by taking all precautions and following these important summer vehicle maintenance tips.