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Making Your Last Summer Road Trip Count

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I love this time of the year! I love boating, sitting on the back porch, and finishing up the summer with a road-trip.

I also recommend a thorough vehicle inspection before any extensive trip, scheduling your appointment no less than a week or two in advance to give the shop time to repair any problems.

Another reason is to give you time to drive locally after a repair to make sure everything is right, especially if it is a major repair.

Paying attention to maintenance that affects gas mileage is essential. Things like ignition components, air filter, tires, steering and alignment all affect fuel economy. Don't ignore a Check Engine Light... this could have an effect on gas mileage and the drivability of the vehicle.

Also, know that a car-top carrier or a bike rack will have a significant impact on fuel economy. Try hard to get by without it and you could save quite a bit at the pump.

As for safety, nothing is more important than good tires. Tires that have just decent tread on them should still be replaced. Make sure you don't see any cracking or checking (also known as dry rot) on the sidewall of the tire. They could be prone to a blowout at speed on the highway, especially with the extra vacation load and higher summer temperatures.

If you are towing a trailer, have your shop inspect and repack the wheel bearings, especially if it's a boat trailer. Check its tires, too, and bring a spare tire, jack and lug wrench that specifically fit trailer wheels.

Lastly, make sure all the lighting on the trailer works -- marker lights, brake lights and turn signals. With a little planning and preventive maintenance, you can have a trouble-free driving vacation.

Three locations:

Crystal Lake – 123 E. Virginia, (815) 356-0440

Barrington – 417 W. Main Street, (847) 381-0454

Fox River Grove – 416 Northwest Highway, (847) 639-4552

Visit www.douglasautomotive.com for more info.

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