HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -With thousands of Americans traveling by car this week for Thanksgiving, it is important to take steps now to keep your drive safe.
Start by checking under your hood.
"The number one thing we see is engine failure due to overheating," says Tony Martin, the General Manager of Anywhere Auto Repair and Towing.
You can prevent this by checking your anti-freeze before hitting the road.
"Make sure it's full to the top, and that it's anti-freeze and not water," explains Martin.
Anti-freeze keeps your car from overheating better than just using water.
Second, check your oil.
"Make sure you pull it out, wipe it off, put it back in for an accurate reading," says Martin.
Mechanics suggest changing your oil before long road trips to help your engine run smoother.
"You can have brake failure due to bad brake fluid," warns Martin.
Martin says the best way to make sure your brakes are safe is to have an expert check them out. Many mechanics offer this service for free.
"When you have to add fluid to it, you may have a leak somewhere," says Martin.
Your brake fluid being low or dark in color may be a sign of bigger trouble in your braking system.
Your tires also need attention. By checking the treads, pressure, and possibility of any dry rot you can prevent skidding and blow-outs.
The easiest way to check the treads on your tire is with the simple ‘penny test.'
"What you're looking for is the top of head right here where the word "we" is," explains Martin. He says that is the same amount of space required to pass an inspection in other states.
"You put the penny in between the treads and want it to go to Lincoln's forehead," says Martin.
When Lincoln is sticking out, Martin suggests looking for new tires. While checking them, push down on your tires to look for any signs of dry rotting.
"All this dry rotting, this is what leads to a possible blow out," says Martin.
By pushing on your tire, you can notice signs of dry rot if there is any cracking on the side of the tire.
"You need to check tire pressure with the change of the seasons, change of temperature," suggests Martin.
Each tire is different, so look for the smallest number followed by the letters ‘P-S-I' on the tire.
Experts also suggest keeping an emergency pack in your trunk with things like jumper cables, water, and even blankets in case you get stuck in colder temperatures.
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The car crashed into the lake when the mother swerved to avoid a dog in the road.