The summer travel season kicks off this week with the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and AAA estimates it will come to the rescue of 8.7 million stranded motorists between Memorial Day and Labor Day. More than 30 million Americans are expected to take road trips during the Memorial Day holiday weekend and, unfortunately, many of them will end up stranded on the road. AAA estimates it will fix three out of five motorists’ car problems at the roadside. However, an estimated 3.7 million drivers will suffer more significant trouble that will require towing to a repair shop. But there are three easy maintenance tasks any driver can perform to reduce their chances of becoming stranded, improve the safety of their road trip and even save a little money. The three maintenance tasks AAA recommends all motorists to perform before hitting the road for a summer trip include:
1. Inspect All FIVE Tires: One of the most frequently overlooked items on a vehicle is the spare tire. When inspecting tires, it’s important to make sure the spare is in good condition and ready for use in case it’s needed. Roughly 1.2 million drivers will call AAA for help with a flat tire during the summer travel season. You need to check the air pressure, inspect the tread depth and overall condition of the tires.
2. Check and Clean Car Battery: AAA estimates it will assist nearly 1.7 million motorists with dead batteries during the summer driving season – replacing nearly 700,000 batteries at the roadside. Summer heat breaks down car batteries internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on the vehicle’s battery terminals. Both conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power being available, and leave a motorist stranded without warning. Check the battery cables and ensure they’re securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are signs of corrosion. Proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the hidden areas where they contact the battery terminals.
3. Replace Wiper Blades and Refill Washer Fluid: Low or no windshield washer fluid was the No. 2 problem AAA uncovered during its 2010 car care inspections. A supply of washer fluid helps wipers remove contaminants. If blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they won’t adequately work and if they’re sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could permanently damage the windshield.