RISMEDIA, May 11, 2009-With the summer travel season looming, AAA anticipates coming to the rescue of 7.3 million stranded motorists this summer. During the months of June, July and August, AAA expects a rise of nearly 1.5% in roadside assistance requests over the same timeframe in 2008.
“AAA believes a combination of lower gas prices, consumers holding onto their vehicles longer and some motorists cutting regular maintenance from their budgets will drive an increase in the need for roadside assistance this summer,” said AAA Automotive vice president Marshall L. Doney.
On a yearly average, AAA is able to remedy problems at the roadside two out of three times, avoiding the need for an inconvenient vehicle tow. However, the motor club finds the number of motorists who suffer major vehicle problems that do require a tow usually spikes during the summer months. This summer, AAA estimates it will tow nearly 3.2 million vehicles.
Find problems before they arise
“No one wants to have their day disrupted by a broken-down vehicle-especially when they are on vacation. Many of the problems that end up with the vehicle on the back of a tow truck could have been prevented with regular maintenance,” Doney said.
Whether planning a summer road trip or continuing a regular commute to work, AAA recommends two basic things motorists can do to decrease the likelihood of their vehicle leaving them stranded:
-Have your vehicle serviced regularly based on the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This is the best way to catch problems before they arise.
-Identify a quality repair shop, and use that facility for all of your vehicle repairs and maintenance. Repeated use of a trustworthy shop allows a motorist to develop a good working relationship with the service staff, and allows the repair technicians to get to know the vehicle and make needed service recommendations in a timely manner.
Flat tires spike in summer
The number of motorists seeking assistance from AAA with flat tires traditionally rises during the summer months. The motor club estimates it will come to the rescue of more than a million motorists with flat tires this summer-more than any other season.
While it can be difficult to avoid an errant nail in a tire, some tire problems can be caught or prevented before motorists hit the road. To ward off tire trouble, AAA recommends:
1. Regularly check and adjust tire pressures to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings. Inspect the tire sidewalls for cuts and bulges, and check the tread for excessive or uneven wear that indicates the need for wheel alignment and/or tire replacement.
2. For maximum life, rotate tires at the mileage intervals specified in the owner’s manual. Note that some vehicles use differently-sized front and rear tires that cannot be rotated.
3. Don’t forget the spare tire. Make sure the spare tire is properly inflated and in good condition.
Summer heats up battery corrosion
Many motorists are aware that cold weather can take its toll on automobile batteries, but few realize that summer heat also contributes to battery failure. Summer heat accelerates the rate of corrosion on vehicle’s battery terminals, which can leave you stranded without warning. AAA anticipates it will jump start or replace more than 1.3 million batteries this summer.
Basic battery care can help prevent unexpected problems on the road:
1. Ensure the battery cables are securely attached.
2. Keep the battery terminals free of corrosion. It is not enough to simply remove external corrosion; proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the areas where their ends contact the battery terminals.
3. Most batteries have a three to five year service life. If your battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, have it tested to determine if it is time for a replacement.
For more information, visit www.aaa.com.