Auto Bits: With Americans traveling more this summer, tips for safe travel
Tip of the Week
Gas prices rose toward $4 a gallon during the winter and early spring of 2012. Travel industry observers expected the traditional summer price spike would scare consumers away from long driving tips. But the gas price spike didn't materialize, and it appears that Americans aren't too worried about what happens in July and August. Only 17 percent are holding off on travel plans, waiting to see whether gas prices come down. The rest have made their plans and they're hitting the road.
Americans plan to drive an average of 212 miles farther in 2012 than they did in 2011 according to the Hankook Summer Gauge Index, which surveyed 1,012 randomly selected Americans. The mean distance of the miles survey respondents are planning to travel jumped from 725 miles in 2011 to 937 miles this year.
If you’re traveling this year, here are some tips for breakdown-safe travel:
- Check fluid levels. Make sure the check includes topping off antifreeze, window washer, brake and transmission fluids.
- Check brakes and brake pads, especially if you can't remember how long since they were last checked.
- Park your car in the shade when possible, and keep a pressure gauge handy to check tire pressure often. Heat is your tires' enemy. Air in your vehicle's tires expands as temperatures rise - In fact for every 10-degree increase in ambient air temperature, your tire's inflation pressure can go up by about 1 pound per square inch.
- Check your trunk to make sure you have the tools you need to change a flat: a spare tire, a lug wrench and a jack.
- Check the tread depth on your tires at least once a month to avoid hydroplaning on wet roads.
According to CNNMoney, here are the coolest cars less than $18,000:
Did You Know
General Motors is offering two new incentives: There is now a no-haggling deal on 2012 cars, and all 2012 and 2013 Chevrolet vehicles will come with a 60-day money back guarantee.
Q: I would like to know where I can purchase coated replacement brake line tubing. I checked with a few parts stores and online and cannot find anyone that sells these lines you mentioned.
A: The product is called poly steel, and it was purchased through OE Place Tool in Rhode Island. I purchase the line through my MATCO tool man. The product is easy to shape, bend and flare. It also does not deteriorate like non-coated line in the snow belt.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service