In advance of the busy summer driving season, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today with advice for families planning to pack up the car to travel, whether during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend or at other times during the summer.
“Vacations are an essential summertime activity for many Arkansas consumers,” McDaniel said.
“Whether they are traveling to a family reunion, the beach or to other destinations, consumers should make safety their top priority so that they can have an enjoyable time with family and friends.”
McDaniel advised consumers to first have their vehicles serviced before embarking on a summer trip if the vehicle is due for regularly scheduled maintenance.
Otherwise, he encouraged Arkansas drivers to keep the following tips in mind ahead of their travels:
Check fluids. Drivers should make sure levels of brake and transmission fluids are normal, and should make sure that oil isn’t low. Oil should appear clean on the stick and be at a sufficient level. If oil levels are low, take the vehicle in for service.
Check what’s under the hood. Examine the battery and cables for any cracks, corrosion or dirt. Remember that summer weather can shorten the life of a battery, so replace it if necessary before a long road trip. Inspect the radiator and hoses for crack and leaks, and, if necessary, change the air filter.
Thunderstorms are almost always a possibility every summer afternoon, so consider investing in new windshield wiper blades.
Remember that summer heat increases tire pressure, so check and see whether inflation levels are consistent with what’s recommended in the owners’ manual.
Make sure tire tread is sufficient by sticking a penny vertically in the gaps of the tires with Lincoln's head pointed downward. If Lincoln’s head is fully visible, then tires probably need to be replaced. Don’t forget to also test the spare tire.
Throw away or remove items that aren’t needed for the trip. Removing 100 pounds of junk can reduce miles-per-gallon by up to two percent.
Aside from the specific checks that are recommended, McDaniel said drivers should pay attention to warning signs that there may be a problem, such as odd noises or if the vehicle shakes suddenly. In those events, have the vehicle checked out by a reputable mechanic before traveling.
Also, keep an emergency road kit in every vehicle and always take along a cell phone on any long trip.
For more information about this or other consumer-related issues, visit the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division website, www.GotYourBackArkansas.org or call (800) 482-8982.