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America Hits the Road: The Car Coach summer car care & road trip tips

Written By | Jun 28, 2020

WASHINGTON: Travel experts predict strong demands for road trip travelers this summer as those housebound pack up the family vehicle to avoid crowds at airports and stations.  If you are planning summer travel, there are a few things you need to know before you hit the road.

The most important tip is to get your motor oil changed.  Your engine’s oil is the “lifeblood” of your vehicle, especially as temperatures warm up. Always follow your owners manual for proper motor oil types and intervals.

Failing to do so will leave you with a very large mechanics bill.

I recommend choosing Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic motor oils or Shell Rotella engine oils, which are key to making sure your vehicle is road trip ready.




For long road trips, in particular, I recommend choosing a fully synthetic motor oil because it provides better wear protection, better fuel economy, and excellent extreme temperature performance.

Pennzoil Platinumfull synthetic motor oils are made from natural gas and give you unbeatable engine protection.

Hauling your boat or trailer

Shell Rotella offers hardworking engine oils for more extreme conditions that are designed to protect your engine while driving with a heavy load, towing, stop and go traffic, and extensive idling.

We are all looking for great deals, especially with car maintenance. Shell and Pep Boys are partnering to help drivers make up for all the miles that they have missed over the past few months. Throughout July and August, you can take 30% off any Pennzoil Oil Change Service or $30 off a Rotella Oil Change Service so there’s an offer whether you need a long-overdue oil change for the family car or to get your RV road-ready.

With AAA predicting vacationers will gravitate to road trips this summer, Pep Boys also has a $30 Summer Prep Package which includes a check of your tires, alignment, brakes, AC, cooling system and battery; replacement of your windshield wipers and the addition of Shell’s one-step fuel system cleaner. In case something unexpected happens along the way, like a flat tire, Pep Boys will also give you a free towing voucher!


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Pep Boys has over 1,000 locations across the country that warranty their work and every shop has ASE-certified technicians ready to deliver on their promise: “We Go Further to Help You Go Farther!”

Pep Boys has over 1,000 locations across the country that warranties their work. Every shop has an ASE-certified technician ready to go further to help you go farther!

We all know that tires are critical to getting you to your destination.
  • Be proactive and check the pressure once a month. Match the tire pressure with the sticker inside your driver’s door.
  • Check your tire’s tread depth during your monthly pressure check.
  • When getting your motor oil changed, ask the mechanics to rotate your tires, back to front, as well.
  • Have your tire alignment checked.  While having a car realigned can cost money, what a properly aligned car will save you in gas costs and tire wear is well worth it.

When it’s time to replace your tires, look for an All-Season Grand Touring Tire capable of providing year-round traction. I’m really impressed with the Hercules Road tour 855 tire, known as the Strong Silent Type.  Hercules Tires has been around for over 65 years and have made this tire to fit your sedan, crossover, and minivan.  One key factor to consider is this tire has up to an 85,000-mile warranty, road hazard coverage, and 45-day trial that come standard with this tire at no additional charge.  The Hercules Road tour 855 is ideal for quality and value, everyday use, smooth quiet ride, safety-focused, demand dependability regardless of the season.  Hercules Tires has over 3500 retail locations across the US and Canada.

Remember to carry an emergency kit and bring your own food to keep costs down.

According to the National Safety Council article: What Should You Keep in the Car?

“Every vehicle should have an emergency supply kit located in the trunk. Kits should be checked every six months, and expired items should be replaced to keep it up to date. Vehicle emergency supply kits should include:



  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
  • Compass
  • First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress
  • Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits and hard candy
  • Drinking water
  • Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
  • Car charger for your cell phone
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Duct tape
  • Rain poncho

Additional items for cold weather include a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction and blankets.

It’s also a good idea to keep family and emergency phone numbers, including your auto insurance provider and a towing company, in your phone.”

Also, use your phone’s “find a friend” feature and share your location with someone not traveling with you.  That way they might be able to find you if you are stranded. Keeping battery-chargers for your phone, charged up and ready, will also be important if your car battery should die.

Don’t forget gallons of water for your car.

An important safety tip is that if your car overheats, it is important to wait until it fully cools down before you open the radiator to add new water.  Opening the radiator when the water is overheated could result in being scalded by hot water and/or steam.

Most of all, enjoy your summer and travel safely.

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Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.