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We just read several AAA Texas reports about the upcoming Independence Day weekend. This July 4th holiday, the AAA says that millions of Texans will travel by car and most of them will be driving 50 miles or more. If you’re planning on traveling during this holiday period, are you prepared for the trip?

Their study indicates this is nearly a 3 percent increase from the same time last year. More cars on the road and more miles driven means your car needs to be up to the task. The implications of this includes shelling out more money for higher gas prices, driving on crowded highways, and dealing with shortened nerves.

We can’t help you with the first two implications, however we can do something to help soothe your nerves by advising you on your vehicle’s health ahead of your trip away from Sugar Land. The AAA data forecasts all of these travel methods will be up this July 4th weekend:

  • Automobile – 2.5 million – 3.1% increase
  • Air Travel – 271,000 – 2.7% increase
  • Other Travel (Trains, Buses, Cruise Ships) – 210,000 – 1.0% increase

Did you know there actually is a pattern to automobile breakdowns? According to their study of AAA Authorized repair facilities, the most common repairs include broken fuel pumps, dead batteries, cooling system problems, and broken belts and hoses.

Five things you can do to avoid calling a tow truck

With regular auto maintenance, these issues can be dealt with ahead of time. So, if you’re proactive, you can take these steps to avoid having to call a tow truck for these types breakdowns:

Protect your fuel pump

Your fuel pump uses gas to keep it cool, so avoid driving with your tank less than 1/8th full and follow your owners manual and change your fuel filter when recommended. Hint: it’s usually every 30,000 miles.

Check your battery

To help maintain the life of your car battery, keep the terminals clear of corrosion. Heat also takes its toll on batteries. If your battery has been in your vehicle for about three years, you should have it tested professionally at least once a year. Don’t take chances with a weak battery, your should replace it as soon as possible.

Maintain your cooling system

Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s schedule and check your car radiator and coolant level and have the coolant flushed as specified. This way you can avoid having to deal with a radiator leak.

Inspect you belts and hoses

You can visually check them for damage. If you see that they are damaged of cracked, you will have a major problem soon if you don’t have a frayed belt or swollen hose replaced right away. Also, refer to the owners manual and follow the maintenance and replacement schedule.

Look out for your tires

Check your tire pressures monthly and always before a trip. While you’re at it, to maintain automobile safety, extend tread life, and get good fuel economy, don’t forget about tire balancing and tire rotations too. If your tires need replacing, consider a Goodyear tire dealer for a wide range of choices and expert tire service advice.

In conclusion, having car trouble is never pleasant. The best thing you can do to avoid breaking down on the side of the road, is to follow the car maintence schedule in your owners manual. For extra peace of mind, take your car to a AAA Approved Repair facility in Fort Bend County so they can inspect your vehicle before you head for the open road this Independence Day weekend.

At First Tire & Automotive, we understand driving. If you have any questions or concerns about auto maintenance, just give us a call or stop by one of our three convenient Fort Bend County locations today. We’ll be happy to answer questions, go over estimates, and a recommended plan of action with you.

Damian Gadal / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)