Tips to get your car ready for spring, summer road trips - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Make sure your car is in tip-top shape for travel season

Some vehicle fixes are quick, easy and ensure less expensive problems down the line. (Source: KXLN) Some vehicle fixes are quick, easy and ensure less expensive problems down the line. (Source: KXLN)

(RNN) – The imminent end of the school year and rise in temperature point to one thing – vacations.

April is National Car Care Month and a good time to get vehicles prepared for road trips.

"Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value," said Rich White, executive director of Car Care Council.

Car Care Council offered a 10-point check list to make sure spring and summer travel is safe, enjoyable and inexpensive as possible:

1. Check all fluids. That includes engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, power steering, brake, transmission and windshield wiper fluids.

2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, worn and loose.

3. Check the battery for corrosion and to make sure it is securely pinned down.

4. Check the brake system. You can have rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.

5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks and unusual noises.

6. Schedule a tune-up to make sure you get the maximum fuel economy and reduce emissions.

7. Check the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

8. Inspect the power steering and suspension system annually. This includes shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts.

9. Check the tires for wear, proper inflation and to make sure they are properly aligned.

10. Check the wipers and lights in case of rain, fog or other difficult driving conditions.

April is a convenient month for making minor fixes on vehicles for another reason.

People who got on the late bus for filing taxes and expect a return can make in investment in their cars that will pay off in several ways.

"Last year, the average tax refund was nearly $3,000. By simply allocating a portion, or the equivalent of just one new car payment, consumers could cover an entire year's worth of basic maintenance and live happily ever after with their current vehicle," White said.

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