Independence Day (July 4) is the busiest day of the year for emergency roadside assistance calls and a reminder to “weatherize” your car. Summer heat and unexpected breakdowns are hard on seniors and those with disabilities. High summer temperatures also take their toll on the engine. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual and your car will hopefully make it through the summer in a breeze.

Some jobs you or a friend may be able do, while others are best left to the professionals.

  • Check the air conditioning and inspect belts and hoses. When is the last time you had the entire system inspected?
  • Inspect batteries and cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt. Have it tested if it’s near the end of its warranty. It’s a lot easier to replace a battery before a trip than replace a dead one on the side of the road.
  • Have a professional inspect your brake pads and linings for wear.
  • Change the engine oil and filter according to the service schedule. Check fluids, including coolant, brake, automatic transmission, windshield wiper and power steering.
  • Replace wiper blades once a year.
  • You probably check your tires’ air pressure, but what about the spare?
  • You can significantly alter the car’s performance by rotating the tires.
  • Test the lights – interior and exterior, including turn signals and high beams – to make sure they work. And clean them.
  • Change the air filter. A dirty filter lowers gas mileage and reduces engine performance.
  • Consider an inspection by a qualified technician before leaving on a trip. Repairs made on the road will be more costly.
  • A professional should inspect the radiator, pressure cap, belts and hoses. If it’s time, flush and refill the cooling system.

Buckle up and don’t leave home without your cell phone and your disabled parking permit.

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is an expert in mobility equipment and accessibility!

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