By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The long holiday weekend will soon be upon us, and for many that means taking a road trip. Is your car in shape to hit the highways this summer? 3-On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has some advice so that you don’t get stranded.

Breaking down on the side of the road on a hot summer day is enough to get anyone hot under the collar. But checking on a few things first before you leave can help you avoid problems. It’s always a good idea to give your car a once-over before heading out on a long trip.

Either you or your mechanic should check the belts, fluids and battery. According to John Ryder at AAA Mid-Atlantic, “More batteries fail in July than they do in January, so heat is an enemy to the battery.

“If the battery is 4 years or older, we recommend you possibly call AAA and have us come out, look at your battery and we’ll put a battery in your car at your convenience right at your location.”

Jim Donovan reports…

Ryder reminds you to check your tire pressure too. He says, “Tires can build up excessive heat especially on a concrete highway or black tarmac highway when you’re talking 120 degrees on the surface, then you have that added build up of the flex of that tire because the tires excessively low. That tire can actually come apart going down the highway.”

Tires should always be inflated to the level that’s recommended on the door jam.

Finally, a word of caution – Ryder says, “If you see steam coming out from underneath that hood, don’t even open that hood up. Call AAA. You can risk being burned or scalded just by opening the hood.”

If your vehicle does overheat, get it off to the side of the road as soon as possible and allow it to cool down. Avoid driving with the temperature light on, if you try to make it to a distant exit, you may end up with more extensive damage.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS3

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