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Essential Car Safety For Your Summer Road Trip

Jan Andersen
Before embarking on a road trip, it is important to be prepared for any common car problems like a flat tire.

As the weather gets warmer and people embark on summer road trips, it's important to take the right precautions before setting out on the open road.

Even though summer is a great time for long drives with the windows down, the warmer weather can also make your car more vulnerable to disrepair. The rise in temperature can lead to stress on tires, batteries and all of the other rubber products inside of your car.

Walt Brinker is a retired military man whose hobby and passion is helping stranded motorists. With over a thousand road side assists and a book, titled Roadside Survival, he shares some insight and tools about summer car safety.

 Items to Keep in Your Vehicle's Trunk

1. The original tools that came with the car - you want to be able to properly change a tire without the mismatched tools.

2. Road atlas  - to help locate the nearest tire shop in case the GPS fails.

3. Old beach towel - can be used as padding for your knees or spread out on the ground when you need to lay under the car. This will add a little comfort and minimize the mess.

4. Leather gloves - protect your hands from stray shards of metal.

5. Tire pressure gage - will accurately tell if your tires are low.

6. 12-volt compressor - small enough to keep in your car and powerful enough to fill a tire within three minutes.

7. Head lamp - for hands-free illumination, especially if no one is there to assist at night.

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

1. Make sure tires are in good shape with no defects and proper air pressure (don't forget the spare tire!)

2. Keep an eye out for fluid leaks.

3. Check and repair the battery if needed.

Walt Brinker's Tips

• If you do end up changing a flat tire, the spare should be used only for short periods of time at low speeds. The donut tire is "designed to get you off the highway to a tire store," says Brinker.

• Listen to your car! It will give you signs before a major failure. If you notice any strange smells, car fluids or poor electrical power get it checked out before you leave on a road trip.

•Have two-gauge 20 foot jumper cables (four-gauge is also sufficient). The two-gauge conducts electricity more efficiently and the length allows you to lay the cables over the cars. You may not have the ability to park nose-to-nose or next to a stranded car on the highway or parking lot.