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Confidence is key for spring road trips

(BPT) - As the spring weather approaches and consistent warm temperatures arrive, millions of drivers will take to the highway for spring road trips. With one of the most unbearable...

(BPT) - As the spring weather approaches and consistent warm temperatures arrive, millions of drivers will take to the highway for spring road trips.

With one of the most unbearable winters now in the rearview mirror, drivers are facing roads that are riddled with potholes and other hazards. The change from winter to spring brings more than just a change of weather, but an enhanced need for proper spring vehicle preparation to help ensure you get the best possible performance out of your vehicle.

Here's a checklist drivers should follow to optimize their driving experience while helping to keep their vehicles running safer and longer, without emptying their wallets.

* Seasonal change: As Americans start readying their homes for the switch from the cold winter weather to the warm spring conditions, they often forget about their vehicle. Switching from winter tires and transitioning to all-season tires or performance tires on your vehicle, or simply checking tread depth and tire condition are good ideas at this time.

* Confidence is key: Spring's wet and rainy conditions can make driving very difficult. High-performance tires offer the all-important responsive handling and traction needed for spring weather conditions. Advances in tire technology are helping deliver a new generation of moderately priced tires that offer all-season traction, long tread wear, high-performance and value to consumers. The family of ultra-high performance tires are designed for responsiveness, all-season traction, and outstanding wet and dry handling at a great value.

* Be alert to inflation: As temperatures change, so can tires. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the glove box, and should be checked at least monthly. Improper inflation can lead to premature or irregular tire wear, and under-inflation can reduce a vehicle's fuel efficiency by an average of 3.3 percent.

* Beware of potholes: The cold and icy conditions of winter can wreak havoc on the roadways, leaving damaged pavement and potholes that can cause damage to your tires and wheels. Before heading out on spring road trips, be sure to inspect each of your tires for pothole damage, or bring your vehicle to a local Goodyear Tire and Service Network location to receive a comprehensive checkup.

* Fill it up: Oil is the lifeblood of the engine that helps to keep it running efficiently and effectively. Not sure what oil to use? Refer to a professional or use the grade of motor oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer to achieve optimum engine protection and fuel efficiency.

* Breathe free: Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle's life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months. Over the winter months, salt, sand and other impurities may build up in a vehicle's air filtration system and could be robbing it of as much as 10 percent in fuel efficiency.

* Tread check: Proper tire tread depth is an important factor in both vehicle performance and safety. To make sure your tires have enough tread, perform the penny test. Place a penny inserted upside-down in the tread grooves of the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, it's time for new tires.

* Clean is refreshing: Consumers' cars, trucks or SUVs have likely weathered the harsh conditions and corrosive elements associated with winter, including freezing rain, snow, ice, sand and salt. Keeping vehicles clean will help protect them from the corrosive elements that may attack the car's finish and undercarriage. Be sure to use quality cleaners and waxes specifically designed for a car's finish.

For more helpful car care advice or information on tires for cars, light trucks, SUVs and more, visit your local Goodyear retailer or go online to www.goodyear.com.

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