July 2, 2020

Preparing Cars for a Summer Road Trip



Now that summer is here, many people are finalizing their plans for a vacation.  Whether it be a trip to a beach, mountains, campsite or visiting family, people are planning a getaway from the cabin fever that has gripped the country. Even as much of America has “re-opened,” travelers are wise to exercise a high level of care and safety.

You may be wary of air travel and opt instead to drive to your destination. Even absent a pandemic, being in the confined space of an airplane with many people emitting many different germs and viruses is an easy way to catch something unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst.

It Just Makes Sense

If you are opting to drive, you’re not alone.

A recent survey by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), reflected the increase in car travel this summer with the following numbers:

  • 78% of the respondents said they will drive to their summer vacation spot in 2020.
  • 62% said they will use their personal car, up from 36% last year.
  • 54% will log more than 400 miles roundtrip to and from their destination.
  • 63% will go the same distance or longer for their summer vacation this year.

Low gas prices at the moment are another motivation to travel by car. National average gas prices at the start of summer were around $2.11 per gallon, more than 50 cents cheaper than the national average at the same time last year ($2.67).

Summer Car Care Checklist:

Before setting out on your road trip, it is more important than ever to make sure your car is running properly.

Experts at Mr. Transmission and Milex Complete Auto Care have advice for preparing your vehicle for safe travels.

Our professionals recommend checking the following areas of the car to ensure a road trip without incident:


  • Cooling Systems - Summer temperatures get hot, so it’s an especially stressful time for car engines that are going nonstop for several hours at high speeds. Make sure you have the proper type of engine coolant. It should be a 50/50 coolant-and-water mix, filled to the correct level.


  • Battery – Sometimes you don’t know your battery is in trouble until it goes dead. Your battery is used not just to start your car but to run your air conditioning, radio, GPS, passenger electronics, and more. The longer your trip, the more you may drain the battery. Keep in mind that most batteries last at most four to five years, so be sure to test the battery before leaving home.


  • Tires – Even when not on a long trip, it’s important to monitor tire pressure to make sure it’s at the right level, as well as keep an eye on tire tread and make sure the tires and wheels are properly aligned and balanced. The air in tires expands as they get hotter, so, especially when embarking on a long trip, make sure they are not over-inflated when cold.


  • Suspension system – We often load up the car with a family of passengers, luggage and personal items when making a summer roadtrip.  The additional weight on the vehicle causes a strain on the suspension system, which includes the springs, shock absorbers and struts.  Worn suspension components may reduce the stability of the vehicle and reduce driver control, as well as accelerate wear on other suspension system components.


  • Air filter – A car’s air filter should be changed each year or every 15,000 miles.  This gives the vehicle a good supply of clean air and prevents poor fuel economy and performance.  A convenient time to have the filter checked or replaced is during oil change appointments.


Your vehicle should be your safe space as you cruise to your vacation destination responsibly during the pandemic. Take these tips into consideration and you prepare your car to take you the distance safely.

Now is a good time to visit your local Mr. Transmission/Milex store to make sure your vehicle is in top condition before hitting the road on the way to your summer vacation spot.

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