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5 Vehicle Essentials to Check Before a Summer Road Trip

GRAND BLANC, Mich. —  Summer road trip season is here and with it, millions of Americans are packing up to get away. According to a recent Travel Channel survey, 81 percent of Americans said they would “love to take a road trip,” with the number increasing to 87 percent for those who have kids.

For those on the move this summer, GM’s parts brands, GM Genuine Parts and ACDelco, compiled a list of five essentials to check before embarking on a road trip.

“We want drivers to have peace of mind and enjoy their road trip,” said John Latner, manager, ACDelco Technical Training. “With these quick maintenance checks - which can be as simple as testing tread depth with a penny - drivers can stay focused on the journey ahead.”

To stay road trip ready, the checklist below can help ensure your vehicle is in top condition for wherever the summer takes you.

Five Vehicle Essentials to Check Before Your Summer Road Trip

  1. A few days before your trip, set aside time to check your vehicle’s belts, hoses, brakes, lights, cabin air filter and wiper blades. Your vehicle’s Owner Manual has a schedule for suggested maintenance timing.
  2. Unchecked fluid and oil levels may lead to an unexpected breakdown. Check the engine oil, as well as the windshield washer and brake fluids, and refill as needed. Additionally, check the vehicle’s transmission fluid, power steering fluid and coolant fluid.
  3. Tires, including the spare, should have the appropriate pressure to ensure they are in top working condition. Tire tread depth can be quickly tested with something most people have in their cup holder: A penny. Place the penny with Lincoln’s head upside down on the tire’s tread. If you can see all of Lincoln’s face, you may need to replace your tires. Underinflated and overinflated tires can lead to a flat tire or blowout, creating unexpected delays in summer travel. Similarly, poorly maintained tires may lead to poor handling, unusual wear and reduced fuel efficiency.
  4. Inspect your vehicle’s brakes before traveling to ensure there are no road trip surprises. Do you hear a squealing or grinding noise when stopping? You may need to replace the brakes. Failure to replace brake pads or damaged rotors can lead to expensive repairs in the future that could take away from your vacation fund.
  5. In case of an unexpected emergency, ensure you have a working flashlight with extra batteries, emergency reflectors and a first-aid kit in your vehicle.

For additional maintenance tips and how-to videos for DIYers, visit ACDelco’s Youtube site. For those not comfortable conducting maintenance checks, you can schedule an appointment with your local Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac Certified Service experts or visit an ACDelco Professional Service Center. However you choose to service your vehicle, always ask for GM Genuine or ACDelco OE parts - designed, engineered, tested and backed by General Motors.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

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