What to know before hitting the road this summer

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It's summertime, which means drivers will be getting ready to hit the road for trips this season.

If people are planning on driving to their summer destinations, local mechanics are recommending they have their cars checked out before hitting the road.

"Best thing to do is not wait for the last minute to do it," said Michael Williamson with Tuffy Tire and Auto Service Center in Panama City Beach.

He said before going on a long trip, drivers should have their car fluids and tires looked at.

When looking at tires, there are telltale signs to look for when determining age and if it is time for a tire change. Tire dry rot is a condition where cracks appear on the tread and sides of a tire.

"Here in Florida, you see a lot of it come in. A lot of people may have a lot of tread left, but the tires themselves are dry rotted. There's cracks all around it and that's a good time to replace it," said Williamson.

To get a close estimate of how old a tire is, look for a four-digit number on the tire. For example, "2910" means the tire was made in the 29th week of 2010.

According to Williamson, the heat causes tires to deteriorate faster.

For conventional oil, the oil should be changed around every 3,000 miles. For synthetic oil, Williamson said driving 5,000 to 7,000 miles calls for a change.

"This is what they consider extreme weather out here, so your maintenance requirements, which are in your user manual, will tell you [about] severe weather and how often you should do certain things like your fluids, grease, rear ends, transmissions, all that," said Williamson.