Tips for Thanksgiving Road Travel

Lynchburg, VA - Millions of Americans are hitting the roads Wednesday for the Thanksgiving weekend. But before you join them, make sure your car is road worthy.

Mechanics say a big road trip can equal months of minor around-town driving. So do yourself a favor this Thanksgiving and make sure your car is ready. It'll not only save you money, it'll make you much safer.

Get ready for some Thanksgiving Traffic. AAA says this year an estimated 43 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more. And 90% of them will be by car.

But before you turn that key, listen up.

"Any one of these can cost you a lot of money, the brake fluid can cost you your life," said auto mechanic David Mann.

Mann has been a mechanic for almost 25 years. He has a few simple tips to make sure your Thanksgiving road trip goes off without a hitch.

First, check the tread on your tires.

"Take a penny, turn it upside down, insert the penny in the tread, and if the tread does not come to the top of Lincoln's head, if it does not touch his hair, then you do not have enough tread depth left," he said.

Next, there are five fluids your car can't move without:

"Antifreeze, usually in a clear container. Transmission fluid, checked with a dip-stick. Pull it out, wipe it clean, re-insert it to get a proper reading. Transmissions are checked with the engine running. Make sure it's in park, make sure the parking break is on. Your oil, obvious, also with a dip stick," said Mann.

"This is the most important thing. If this is low, fill it, no matter what, up to the full line, before you take any trip," he said.

Make sure you have adequate levels of each. Also, check power steering and brake fluids; both are very important.

"The weather turns and all of a sudden you can't see," said Mann about your windshield wipers.

"If they've been on at least one year, they've been through one hot summer, one cold winter, go ahead and replace them for safety's sake," he said.

Finally, Mann says if you have any lights that come on your dashboard, pay attention. A red light means it needs immediate attention, and you need to get it checked before any driving.

Read more about holiday travel numbers on AAA's website.