On the Road Again

Dear Tracy,
This summer my family and I are planning to take a driving trip out west, with the Grand Canyon National Park being our ultimate destination. We expect the trip to be around 3,000 miles. Although our car is reliable, it is several years old, has over 100,000 miles on it, and it has been awhile since we’ve purchased a new set of tires. Tracy, what do you recommend we do to prepare our car for the trip?

-Beverly D.

Dear Beverly,

It sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned! When I was a kid, we made a similar trip, traveling the Historic Route 66 and taking in the sites of classic America, including the Cadillac Ranch. If you happen to stop there and see “Tracy Was Here” on the tire of a 1949 caddie, you’ll know who it was!

You are smart to think about preparing your vehicle for a long road trip. When it comes to your tires, you will first need to check your tread depth – the old fashion penny test works great for this. Adequate tread is absolutely essential to assure proper traction and safe handling. Next, you should make sure that your tires are properly inflated. For summer driving, you can keep the pressure a little closer to the maximum, but always keep it below that maximum. Finally, it is a good idea to make sure you have a spare tire available, and that it is in good working order.

To be extra confident on the road, you can have your tires and spare inspected before your trip. This would also be a great opportunity to have a few other important auto service checks performed:

  • Hoses & Belts
  • Oil, Coolant, & Fluids
  • Brakes
  • Wipers
  • Lights
  • Battery

Though preparing for a trip can keep you extremely busy, it is worth the extra time to have these tire and auto service checks done. Your summer vacation time is limited, and you want to spend that time on the road, not on the side of the road, waiting for a tow!