Hamilton, NJ – AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates it will come to the rescue of over 30,000 stranded motorists during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend – with more than 8,000 expected in New Jersey. “With over 845,000 New Jerseryans expected to travel by car during the holiday, many motorists could unfortunately be left stranded away from home this weekend if they haven’t properly prepared their vehicles,” said Sue Madden, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
“Nothing can dampen a vacation like having your vehicle break down and the best way to avoid that unfortunate circumstance is with preventative maintenance,” Madden said. “Taking care of your vehicle in advance can reduce the likelihood of breakdowns, as well as the hassle and costs that occur when vehicle upkeep is ignored.”
Whether planning a summer road trip now or later in the summer or even continuing a regular commute to work, AAA recommends two fundamental 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; and
- 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 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.
AAA offers a free public service to help consumers find quality auto repair facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can either look for a http://midatlantic.aaa.com/Automotive/ClubOwnedRepair AAA Car Care Center in their area or a AAA Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA Approved shop online at AAA.com/Repair.
Easy maintenance checks for motorists
While some maintenance and repair tasks are best left to certified automotive technicians, there are several basic items motorists can easily check themselves between trips to their auto repair facility, including the following:
Brake Fluid Level and Color – This is often one of the most neglected fluids, although brakes are one of the most critical systems on your vehicle. Dark brown or black colored fluid is a sure sign of contamination and an indication that replacement is necessary, as contamination causes corrosion, which eventually leads to other brake problems.
Engine Air Filter – A dirty or clogged air filter restricts airflow and reduces engine performance. A damaged filter, or one that does not seal properly in its housing, will allow unfiltered air to enter the engine. This can lead to increased engine wear and, in some applications, damage to electronic engine control components.
Windshield Washer Fluid – Rain, insects, grime and other debris on a windshield will compromise the driver’s vision if the windshield wipers cannot remove them. Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly or more often if the washers are used frequently. 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 hitting the road.
Windshield Wiper Blades –Windshield wipers are easy to overlook until motorists find themselves in a pounding rainstorm. If wiper blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not adequately remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision. If the wiper blades are sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could contact and permanently damage the windshield.
Tire Pressure – Proper inflation will make tires last longer and delay the need to buy new ones. Additionally, correct tire pressure will help maximize a vehicle’s fuel economy, while ensuring optimum ride and handling for comfort and safety. Check and adjust tire pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold—including the spare. Always inflate tires to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings—not the maximum pressure molded on the side of the tire. The manufacturer’s recommendations can be found on a sticker on the driver’s door jam or in the owner’s manual.
Tire Tread – Check the tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove with Washington’s head facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any of the area above Washington’s head is visible, it’s time to start shopping for new tires. Always check the tread at several points around the tire and across its width, and use the lowest reading.
Battery – Summer heat breaks down the battery internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on vehicle’s battery terminals. Both of these conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power being available, and leave a motorist stranded without warning.
Depending on the local climate and vehicles usage patterns, most car batteries have a three to five year service life. If your battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, have it tested at an AAA Approved Auto Repair shop or by the AAA Mobile Battery Service to determine if it is time for a replacement.