Summer is an ideal time for personal and family vacations and road trips. However all that heat, and sometimes sand and dirt, can take a toll on your vehicle – which needs a little extra care to protect your investment. Here are some tips to protect your car, truck or van before, during and after a summer road trip.
- Check your fluid levels, hoses, tire pressure and other automotive essentials at home or at your local garage or dealer.
- Be sure your tires have good tread and there are no worn spots. If you’ve noticed your tires wobbling or the steering wheel shaking at all, be sure to get your tires balanced, because a long trip can really wear down unbalanced or unaligned tires.
- Take your vehicle to the carwash, get it cleaned inside and out, and be sure to add extra sealant or protective spray. A clean car means you start with a clean slate and everyone will enjoy the trip more.
- If you have vinyl or leather seats, buy a good vinyl or leather cleaning kit to give them extra cleaning and protection as well. This will reduce the wear and tear of small particles of dirt or dust grinding away at the surface of your seats. Take some extra cleaner and paper towels with you for accidents or spills on the road.
- Don’t use window or glass cleaner on vinyl or leather seats – the alcohol in those liquids or sprays can severely damage the seat surfaces. Soap and hairspray also can do far more harm than good when used to clean leather or vinyl seats or padding.
- If you take a pet with you, be prepared to experience some picks and nicks to the car interior. Don’t try to touch up the damage with shoe polish or markers because it will make an ugly mess. Call a professional leather or vinyl repair company to tackle this kind of damage.
- While on the road, if you drive in sandy areas, or bugs are starting to cover your front bumper and grill, take a few spare minutes to run through a carwash – or use a garden hose if you have access to one – and clean off the build-up before it starts eating into the paint.
- Once you get home, it’s smart to give the vehicle a good washing outside and cleaning inside, especially if you have been at the beach.
Of course the one thing we don’t want to happen on a trip or vacation is a breakdown! That’s why millions of car, truck and van owners have a vehicle service agreement (extended warranty). Vehicle service agreements differ in terms of scope and coverage. Some offer comprehensive coverage similar to a manufacturer’s warranty, while other agreements offer coverage of certain parts such as engine, drive train and transmission. Given the variety of vehicle service agreements, you can select the options that are right for your needs and budget.