With gas becoming continually more affordable, experts predict that travel by automobile will increase this December. According to AAA, holiday air travel is expected to decline slightly to 5.53 million travelers from 5.61 last year, while this year ninety-one percent of travelers, or 85.8 million will travel by automobile, an increase of 0.9 percent. Nearly 30 percent of all Americans will take a trip this holiday season and New Year, with more than one in four (27 percent) taking a road trip.
5 Tips for Safe New Years Road Trips from by Rick Depke, Service Director at Larry H. Miller Toyota Peoria:
1) Not all oil changes are created equal: Be sure to use the right type of oil for traveling to colder climates. The viscosity of oil, or its thickness, tends to become denser in cold weather. Check the owner’s manual or ask a qualified technician from any Larry H. Miller automotive repair center if you’re not sure which type to use for best engine performance during the winter, especially before traveling to colder climates.
2) “O say, can you see?” When was the last time you had your windshield wipers replaced? The scorching Arizona summers can wreak havoc on windshield wiper blades, rendering them useless when you need them most. Be sure to check for performance before embarking on any trip where you could encounter rain or snow. Also, don’t forget to ensure that the windshield wiper fluid is full, and your defroster is working properly before any winter trip.
3) The pressure is on: Tire pressure tends to drop dramatically as the air cools down outside, and this decrease in tire pressure can lead to unsafe driving conditions. In order to have the best road traction for your particular vehicle, tires should be checked before heading out of town. Also, if traveling to an extremely cold climate where snow is a possibility, chains or snow tires may be required for the safest journey. Again, consult the owner’s manual of your vehicle, or ask any Larry H. Miller technician for their highly skilled opinion.
4) Mix it up a little bit: The antifreeze mixture in a car should be a precise 50-50 blend of antifreeze, (aka coolant) and water to avoid the concoction from freezing inside of your radiator. An affordable device can be purchased at any auto parts store to check the blend for the proper mix. If it is not balanced, the cooling system should be drained, flushed and refilled to the proper specifications prior to embarking on your holiday journey.
5) Safety first: Every car should have a safety kit in it at all times, but especially during the cold winter months. It is important to keep at least a gallon of water, non-perishable food, flares, a first aid kit, blankets, a flashlight, extra clothing, a small shovel, and tools to change a tire or fix any minor automotive mishaps along the way. Too much of a good thing is not the case when it comes to having the necessities to make it through a snowy night on the side of the road. However, the best thing to remember before leaving town is to have your car checked from bumper to bumper by an expert who knows exactly what to look for in order to keep you and your loved ones safe during your winter and New Year adventures.