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posted: 9/6/2013 1:00 AM

Tips for a better family road trip

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Few things are more American than the family road trip with the kids in the back arguing about who crossed the imaginary line and Mom and Dad in front threatening to "turn this car around if you kids can't behave."

These tips may not keep the kids from fighting, but they could keep the car from breaking down during the drive and save you a few bucks on gas.

• Take the long and winding road. It's more relaxing and less stressful than the crowded highway.

• Bring your own snacks. You likely will eat healthier and save time and money you would have spent on those "extra" stops.

• Keep your eye on the gas gauge. Exits can be far and few between when you reach unfamiliar territory. Try not to let your gas gauge go below the quarter mark. This will save you time, money and hassle.

• If your car starts to overheat, put the heater on HIGH (even if it's 100 degrees outside) to bring the hot air from the engine into the cabin. This should help to buy you more time to get to the service station.

• Take your time. Illinois has raised the speed limit to 70, which might get you there faster, but it certainly will suck up more gas. On the highway, driving 60 miles per hour instead of 70 mph will save you 2-4 miles per gallon over the duration of your trip.

• Do not keep the car running when people are in it -- especially in enclosed areas. The carbon monoxide gas released from the exhaust is toxic.

• If your air conditioner is on, there is extra load on your engine causing you to use more gas. Unless you're on the highway, keep the windows open, get some fresh air and save money on gas. Close them when you get on the highway. Having the windows open at high speeds creates an aerodynamic drag that causes an engine to work harder, thus causing you to use more gas.

• Check your tire pressure. If your tire pressure is low, your engine has to work harder to move the car and it causes uneven wear on your tires, which can affect steering and braking. The harder your engine works, the more gas is wasted. Air is free.

• Originally published at

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