The summer travel season has officially begun, bringing with it scores of stranded motorists. In fact, AAA estimates it will come to the rescue of 7.9 million stranded motorists between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Being stranded on the side of the road can put a dent in anyone’s travel plans, but with a few preventative measures, drivers can dramatically lessen their chances that it happens to them.
Three basic maintenance checks motorists should perform prior to embarking on a summer road trip include: Inspect All FIVE Tires
Roughly 1.1 million drivers will call AAA for help with a flat tire during the summer travel season, and many of those problems could have been avoided. Many are confused when told to check five tires, however one of the most frequently overlooked items on a vehicle is the spare tire. If you cannot locate a spare tire, ensure your vehicle has an alternate solution.
A recent AAA study showed that 85 percent of drivers do not know how to properly inflate their tires, and more than half of all cars on the road have at least one under-inflated tire. Always check tire pressure when the tires are cold and the car has not been driven recently. Use a quality gauge to make sure all five tires are inflated to the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—not the pressure molded into the sidewall of the tire.
Be sure to also inspect the tread depth and overall condition of the tires, looking for signs of uneven wear or abnormal bulges or other damage on the tire treads and sidewalls. Check and Clean Car Battery
AAA estimates it will assist nearly 1.6 million motorists with dead batteries during the summer driving season—replacing nearly 500,000 batteries at the roadside. Check the battery cables and ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are signs of corrosion. It is not enough to simply remove external corrosion; proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the hidden areas where they contact the battery terminals.
In Arizona, a battery may last, on average, less than two years. If a battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, have it tested to determine if you should replace the battery before your road trip. Replace Wiper Blades and Refill Washer Fluid
Arizonans know that summer monsoons may strike suddenly, and with little warning. This is the absolute worst time to discover that your windshield wipers are cracked and no longer working properly. If blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not work adequately to remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight, acid rain and ozone. Streaking and chattering are common clues that the rubber is breaking down and replacement is needed.
In addition, check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly and top it off with a solution formulated to aid in the removal of insects and other debris. Be sure to test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim before leaving on a trip.
Performing these simple maintenance checks will minimize your chances of becoming a roadside statistic. In addition, be sure to stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule to avoid even costlier repairs and inconveniences.
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