On the Road Again – Ready for Vacation

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

It feels WONDERFUL to finally be out and about and plan a mini getaway and family vacations. When our children were younger, the family car was our most popular method of transportation for both being an easy way to travel with three children and the lower cost over air travel. Even several trips to Disney World were made by car and stopping at family friendly motels along the way made it within our budget back then. So finding ways to make our excursions more cost efficient was the number one priority. We routinely kept up maintenance on our cars, and learned more tips from watching a morning news program that featured a representative from the American Automobile Association (AAA)

Maintenance: Make sure your car is in tip-top shape before you contemplate a lengthy journey by having your mechanic check and tune it. The cost of this check up will probably save you money on fuel consumption when your car is running at its peak. When is the last time you changed the oil, air filter, and any of the hoses? Make sure you have your cooling system checked to make sure your car does not overheat while driving. Tires in excellent condition are important for your personal safety and for a comfortable ride. Read the manual that comes with your automobile to find out the proper inflation pressure for your vehicle. Check this pressure every couple of weeks during normal driving and several times during long vacation driving. Generally, the best time to check the tires is when they are cold. Tires that are under inflated may overheat and cause a blowout or loss of control. Recent government recommendations suggest replacing your tires more frequently than once was estimated. Whether or not you put high mileage on your car, experts say that tires eventually “dry out” and should be replaced more frequently than previous standards.

Fuel costs: One of the best rules for saving on fuel is the easiest and that is to stay within the posted speed limit. Driving faster simply eats up more fuel and that is a fact. Enjoy the scenery, take in the sights, and arrive safely, which is the most important part of your trip. Avoid quick starts and stops while driving. Sudden surges and quick stops continue to gobble up fuel unnecessarily. Lighten up your load; taking only what is necessary so the weight of your car will be lighter. Watch your gauges during your trip, making sure you never get down to a quarter of a tank before refueling. This way you have plenty of time to watch for good prices along the road and not have to settle for higher price just because you are near empty. This is also important, too, when you are driving in unfamiliar areas and not certain when the next service station will appear. Being aware and finding ways to conserve fuel and keeping your car in perfect condition can help that vacation get off the ground without breaking the family budget. Wishing all you summer travelers a happy, safe and economic journey that lets you discover wonderful memories down the road!