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Gauging Tire Pressure

Car Care Tips for Fall Travel

Whether it's a journey through the forest to capture its changing hues; a tailgating adventure to cheer an alma mater to victory; or a late trek to the amusement park, fall is becoming an increasingly popular travel season.

In fact, according to AAA, North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, fall travel accounts for 23 percent of all travel nationally. Increasing numbers of travelers are vacationing in autumn when lodging and other costs are generally less than in summer months. The trend toward fall trips is also prompted by more Americans taking extended weekend trips throughout the year, rather than the traditional two-week summer trip, and the desire to travel at less congested times, AAA notes.

AAA's data shows that a family of four taking a fall trek will spend an average $269 per day in fuel, food, lodging and entertainment during September, October and November. Hit the roads with a poorly maintained vehicle, however, and leaves may not be the only things turning red.

"Many travelers spend hours researching destinations, mapping routes and making reservations at the finest inns and restaurants, yet ruin the entire experience with a broken belt or car tire issue that could have been quickly and easily addressed beforehand," said Peter Lord, executive director, GM Service Operations. "Above all, the number one item travelers should pack this fall is a fully functioning vehicle."

Fall check-ups and vehicle repairs are especially important, said Lord, because most owners have subjected their vehicles to wear and tear through the peak summer driving months, and will soon be putting them through their paces in winter driving.

Lord recommends the following auto repairs be
performed before hitting the road in the fall:

  • Check car tires (tread and pressure)

  • Replace windshield wiper blades (summer heat can make them brittle)

  • Fill washer fluid

  • Check coolant level

  • Check oil and change if needed
    Additional travel tips

  • Make sure there's a properly inflated spare car tire, jack, lug wrench and other tools for changing a tire.

  • Pack a cell phone and a way to recharge it.

  • Also: a working flashlight with extra batteries, emergency reflectors, sunglasses and first-aid kit. Include a placard that says "Call Police" in case of trouble. Emergency kits are available for purchase through GM Accessories.

  • Carry a spare set of vehicle keys.

  • Don't forget proof of insurance, vehicle registration and medical insurance cards. Birth certificates or passports may be required for travel into Canada and Mexico; check beforehand.

  • Leave a copy of travel plans with the route, planned return date and contact information with a trusted neighbor.

  • Take prescription information for any medications the family is taking, as well as physicians' phone numbers.

  • Familiarize those in the vehicle with how the OnStar system works, if the vehicle is so equipped.

Sources: General Motors, Goodwrench, AAA