Many Americans who have been looking forward to a trip to Europe to see the battlefields “before they get straightened out” will be disappointed. The unsettled conditions abroad do not promise much comfort or pleasure from such a jaunt, even if passport difficulties and other such trifles as steamship accommodations did not exist.
So the slogan “See America first,” which was started before the war for the purpose of diverting some of the millions of dollars yearly spent by shiploads of Americans, is likely to have more effect this year, and automobiling via the Lincoln Highway is likely to become the fad of the season.
Start with the starter
In preparing for this trip, automobilists must look well to their ignition. The electric system of the car should be thoroughly overhauled. If a battery ignition is used, it is advisable to be doubly careful, as it would be very unpleasant to be stalled miles away from any service station, perhaps while crossing the desert, where it is very dry, or even in some of the swampy districts of the South, where the wetness might not be welcome, either, regardless of the expense.
Study maps carefully
All maps should be carefully studied and clearly marked to show all service stations where the batteries can be replenished and put right. In some parts of the South — among the Rocky Mountains, on the Texas plains, over the beautiful Apache trail, and in some parts of the Arizona desert — service stations are not very close together when needed, nor is “camping out” always an unmixed joy.
Don’t forget to put water in it every week. Don’t use anything but distilled water.
Don’t let the electrolyte spill on top of the battery.
Don’t have an open flame in the same room with a charging battery or an open battery.
Don’t permit battery to stand without a charge.
Don’t allow sediment to collect in the cells.
Don’t fail to keep the terminals tight.
Don’t connect terminals to the wrong poles.
Don’t let terminals come in contact with battery box.
Don’t forget to test with a hydrometer at least once a week.
Don’t let your battery become overcharged.
Don’t permit plates to become buckled by lack of water.
Don’t forget to turn off your ignition and light switches when you stop your engine or your battery may run out.
Clean contact points
Of course, if the car is equipped with magneto ignition, it is only necessary to see that the contact points are clean and a drop of oil put in the bearings once in a while; then there will be no fear of being stalled anywhere because of ignition troubles. Where the country is hilly and the roads rough, magneto ignition can always be relied upon to give the engine its full power and better mileage to the gallon of gasoline.
Photo: Man and woman in an automobile with DC and Maryland plates (1919), courtesy LOC