Car Care, Fatigue, Holiday Travel, Road trips, Vehicle maintenance

Happy #NationalRoadTripDay

red_convertibleToday is National Road Trip Day – the Friday before Memorial Day that kicks off the summer road trip season. According to a survey conducted by the AAA last month, two-thirds of leisure travelers (64% percent) are planning to take road trips (vacations) this summer. Just last week, the Zeno Group conducted a study on what makes a good road trip. If you guessed having good music, audio-books or podcasts to listen to, you have joined 63% percent of those surveyed as the top two must haves for a successful road trip.  Add to the list of other important considerations: having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling.

Road trips are best with a little planning.  Look for travel apps, handly to map out stops ahead of time, saving you time and money.  The Pilot Flying J app features an enhanced trip planner to filter locations by amenities, parking availability, fuel type, restaurants & food offerings, even shower reservations.

Don’t forget to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition to maximize safety during road trip season:

  • keep up on scheduled oil changes – you will save thousands by maintaining your engine, and don’t forget the check the condition of your brake pads
  • check your wipers and wiper fluid
  • make sure your spare tire and jack are in place
  • test all lights and signals to make sure they are working
  • check the registration – don’t risk a ticket for having expired plates

Are you a tourist or a pilot road tripper? One likes to take time to check out unexpected sights and the other sets a course that avoids delays or side trips. If you have a driver and passengers with different road trip personalities, it is important to discuss compromises before getting behind the wheel. And don’t forget – driving while you are tired or sleepy is a hazard. If you are feeling drowsy, pull over and enjoy new places.

On National Road Trip Day, celebrate the open road that leads to places unknown – and enjoy the journey. The city streets and country roads await you!

Car Care, Tires

Where’s that spare?

Safe Drivers Always Check Tire Pressure, Especially Before Embarking on A Road Trip

Tire pressure is an important consideration  when doing preventive maintenance to protect against flat tires.  Low tire pressure increases the correct operating temperature of the tire, which reduces grip, and the most common reason for a sudden blow-out is driving on a tire that is not properly inflated. When was the last time you checked the tire pressure?  Low tire pressure puts additional stress on the sidewalls to cause the support belts in the side walls to possibly separate. Follow these recommendations to avoid having a sudden blow-out of your tire:

– Check the air pressure of each tire once a month. Pick a day like the first Saturday of the month to perform the revision of your tires.

– New vehicles now have automatic tire proper pressure system as standard equipment, so look for the light to come on and fill the tire to the right pressure. Don’t have a new car? Make a habit of checking the air pressure of each tire on your older car, along with the spare tire, at least once a month.

– Inspect the tires for wear and tear. Is the tread getting thin? Tire rubber will slowly break down, develop micro-fissures and could fail at the wrong moment. If you replace only one tire, be sure that it is constructed of the same material and tread design as the other three tires. If the spare tire is over four years old, replace it.

– The mixing of radial and bias ply tires or of different tread design will alter the handling characteristics of the vehicle as well as put stress on all the tires.

– Front wheel alignment should be checked every time you change the oil, or notice the car not tracking straight when driving along the road.