Safe driving starts with a safe vehicle. Before you leave for your spring break or summer road trip, here are some things to keep in mind before pulling out of the driveway. Going out of town, or even out of country, for a vacation can clear your mind for a short while. A vehicle that has been properly maintained will help you come back home safely. With a little car care, you can relax and enjoy a stress-free summer road trip!

1. Clean your windshield & make sure your headlights work

Make sure that your wiper blades are not worn and if they are, replace them. Always make sure that the reservoir is filled with windshield wiper fluid.

2. Check pressure on all four tire and your spare

Recommended tire pressure will be printed on the vehicle’s handbook, a sticker on the door jam or on the tire. Also make sure the tires have sufficient tread for safe travel. You also want to make sure that your spare is properly inflated, in the event that you need it.

3. Check all of your vehicle’s fluids

If you don’t know where all of the fluid bottles are stored, your owner’s manual can help you locate them. You can also ask your dealer to check your vehicle’s fluid levels prior to leaving on your road trip.

Another important component of road trips is fuel consumption. These are the top 10 ways your vehicle may be wasting gas. Be sure to keep them in mind to save yourself some money while you’re on the highway this summer.

1. Deflated Tires

Just a little air loss in your tires can drop your fuel efficiency enough to affect your wallet.

2. Open Gas Caps

If a gas cap is left open, missing or broken, you’re releasing fumes that reduce efficiency and cause smog.

3. Slow Down

Just slowing down a few clicks on the highway can equal significant savings on fuel.

4. Smooth Driving

Peeling out and being first one out of the intersection can be adding 30% to your gas bill.

5. Replace Air Filter

Making sure you have a clean air filter equals significantly better gas mileage.

6. Align Your Tires

Poor tire alignment can cause your engine to work harder, using a lot more fuel.

7. Maintain Your Car

Regular car maintenance increases gas mileage and reduces the need for repairs.

8. Ease up on the Brakes

Slamming the brakes or riding the brake pedal reduces your momentum and your car has to work harder.

9. Less Idling

Idling wastes gas and adds to smog, so turn your car off when you can.

10. Don’t Fill Up on Thursdays

Gas prices increase on Thursdays in anticipation for the weekend. Wednesdays are usually at a weekly low.

From Car Keys Magazine, April 2015.