Auto Bits: How to have a safe and fun summer road trip

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Summer is the perfect time to hit the road and discover new back roads in your state or drive cross-country. A summer road trip is a great opportunity for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences and a great way to make memories with your friends and family. A little planning and preparation will make your road trip even better. Here are some tips that can be essential to summer road trip success.

- Plan your route. One of the most exciting parts of a summer road trip is the planning stage.

- Book reservations for your accommodations. If you're not able to stay with friends and family along your route, it is recommended you make hotel or campground reservations in advance.

- Keep trip expenses in check. Fuel for your vehicle will be one of your biggest expenses during your summer road trip, but there are a few things you can do to reduce costs. If you are driving a pickup on your big summer adventure, you can see immediate gas mileage improvement by installing a truck bed cover on your pickup.

- ARA

The List

If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle, go to CarMax first, according to Edmunds.com. Here are their rankings as far as where to look first:

1. CarMax

2. CPO (certified pre-owned)

3. Dealer nNon-certified

4. Independent dealership

5. Private party

Did You Know

Analysts say gas prices should start dropping fairly dramatically and that 2010 prices in June – when last year’s peak prices occurred – should be lower than 2009’s.

Car Q&A

Q: I own a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The problem is there is a beep and it says “coolant sensor” on the instrument panel. I had it back to the shop three times and still have the same problem. Any ideas would be appreciated.

A: The first step is to hook up a factory scan tool and actually look at what the sensor value is. I have seen many mechanics replace parts before checking the circuit for power and ground connections. Before any more parts are replaced have the vehicle checked by an ASE certified technician.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service