Get ready for a road trip! – By Paul Wells

(NC)—After months of fighting snow and wind, Canadians are gearing up for summer road trips. From a little kid tucked in the backseat heading to the cottage, to a group of friends loading up the car for a camping trip, almost every Canadian has an epic summer drive memory.

Unfortunately, many also have memories of their vehicle being broken down on the side of the road with no help in sight.

A little proactive maintenance is the first step for a worry-free trip. Schedule a full service check-up two weeks prior to hitting the road including a tune-up and fluid top-up. Chances are during the winter months, you or your mechanic added more antifreeze to your radiator’s coolant mix to prevent it from freezing. In excessive amounts, antifreeze can actually reduce cooling efficiency, resulting in higher engine temperatures. Have your mechanic check the concentration and adjust or change the coolant if required.

Help your engine perform at its best by filling your tank with a high-quality gasoline. “Gasoline primarily contains carbon and hydrogen molecules, and combustion can create a residue, called “gunk”, which is a build-up of carbon particles on critical engine parts,” explains Ken Mitchell, an engineer from Shell Canada. “This gunk has a porous surface that can negatively affect the performance of your vehicle. Some high-quality fuels, like all three grades of Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, clean and protect critical engine parts from the build-up of gunk while you drive.”

Along with your personal packing list, you’ll want to be equipped with a travel kit for your vehicle. Essentials include: a rechargeable flashlight, a blanket, non-perishable food and water, flares and a jumper cable for your battery, and the contact numbers for your insurance agency and your roadside service provider. For longer trips, it never hurts to have extra fluids in the trunk – just in case.

The last piece of the puzzle for any road trip is getting where you need to go. Thanks to smartphones and Google maps, it’s never been easier to plan your route and explore every nook and cranny of this great country, right down to where your next fill-up will be.

“There’s nothing worse than rolling into a small town late at night when your fuel tank is on “E”, and not knowing where to go,” said Mitchell. “To help, Shell has developed a Shell Station Locator Mobile App for use on your iPhone or Android. The app allows users to search for Shell stations by city, postal code or GPS, check station hours – and even refine a search by specific fuel type.”

So no matter where your epic summer drive takes you – the Cabot Trail, the TransCanada through the Rockies or through waving wheat fields of the prairies – these tools can help make sure that summer of 2011 delivers a road trip with the right kind of memories.

Written by Canadian Home Trends

Canadian Home Trends

Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You’ll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you’ve always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada’s best places to shop.

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