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Mar 3, 2011
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With summer right around the corner, many of you might already be planning your trip to the beach.

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You’ve got your beach balls, your sun block, your snorkels, skim boards, surfboards, speedos, and whatnot. You’re all set to go.

But before you do, do yourself a favor and get your car ready for the long trip ahead. Because as you know, it’s all songs and stopovers until your radiator gives in to the heat. Here now are some handy tips to reach your destination minus the headaches.

Tires
The hotter it is, the higher the pressure in the tire becomes. Never over-inflate, because in the summer heat, over-inflation will cause your tires to wear faster than normal. Put in the right amount of air as recommended by the manufacturer as the right amount will also help you gain maximum fuel efficiency. 

Never go on a trip with worn-out tires. These are obviously unsafe, and even more so under conditions of extreme heat, or when you encounter unpaved, under-maintained roads in the provinces. Make sure that you’re spare is in good condition as well.

Hoses and fittings
Inspect thoroughly for worn hoses and fittings. Things will get scorching under the hood especially under the summer heat, so much so that old parts won’t be able to withstand them. It’s going to be a major pain in the butt to have them replaced when you’re in the middle of nowhere, so it’s best you replace them before the trip.

The air filter
It doesn’t take too long for your air filter to get dirty, given the pollution in the city. And a dirty one will cut down your car’s efficiency tremendously, and could even lead to overheating during a long trip. So have them cleaned or replaced as well.

Air-conditioning
Your long drive’s going to be literally hellish if you’re A/C system breaks down. So if you don’t want to risk it, it would be best to have your system checked out by a qualified technician. You never know it with these things: they break down when you least expect it.

Fluids
Like people, cars need fluid to run correctly. And for your trip, there are two fluids that you have to keep in mind: oil and coolant. Oil should be changed in regular intervals—every three months preferrably— and not just during long trips.

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But if you’re going on a long trip, then make sure that the oil is still in good condition. And don’t forget the coolant—unless you want your car to go up in smoke, and you want to experience the shame of a hundred other cars passing you by, looking at you with pity. While you’re at it, check the power-steering and transmission fluids as well.

Don’t travel at noon
It’s best to travel before the sun comes up. The hotter it gets in the day, the less efficient your engine will work. Your mileage will be affected as well, as the heat will cause your engine to consume more fuel.

Travel light
Bring only what you need. The more things you cram inside, the heavier the load is, and the harder your car works.

Prepare a trip kit
The usual tools should be in your trunk: tire wrench, car jack, and jumper cables. For the long trip ahead, don’t forget to bring extra coolant, oil, water, and a flashlight. In case of emergencies that require professional help, these might be able to help you do a temporary repair until you can bring your car to the nearest repair shop.

WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES

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