Five Things AAA Says Drivers Should Do Before Thanksgiving Road Trips
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2010
With nearly 40 million hitting the roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, AAA encourages travelers to perform five basic car care tasks to avoid unnecessary breakdowns
AAA estimates nearly 40 million Americans will take to the road during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend as 94 percent of the anticipated 42.2 million travelers are expected to drive to their destination.
To help holiday travelers avoid car trouble and unnecessary delays, AAA recommends drivers
perform five basic car care tasks before hitting the road. These should be done at least a week in advance to allow time to address any issues that may be discovered.
1. Tires – Check tire pressures and tread depth. Check the pressure on all the tires—including the spare—with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. The proper pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker most often located on the driver’s door jamb. Do not use the pressure stamped on the sidewall of the tire. Note that the pressure levels may be different for the front and rear tires.
Check tread depth at several locations on each tire by placing a quarter upside down in the tread grooves. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, it’s time to start shopping for new tires. While checking the tread, look for uneven tire wear that can indicate alignment, suspension or wheel balance problems that need to be addressed to prevent further damage.
2. Wiper Blades – Wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace them if they leave streaks or miss spots. Also, make sure the windshield washer reservoir is filled with a cleaning solution that will not freeze in cold weather.
3. Battery – Ensure the battery cable connections are tight, and the terminals are free from corrosion. If the battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested to determine how much life it has left. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and can replace it on-site, if necessary.
4. Emergency Road Kit – It’s always a good idea to carry an emergency kit when traveling—and especially so when one might encounter winter weather. The winter emergency kit should include:
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Sand, cat litter, or traction mats
- Small shovel
- Gloves, hats and blankets
- Flashlight with fresh batteries
- Shop rags or paper towels
- Jumper cables
- Warning flares or triangles
- Drinking water
- Non-perishable energy/granola bars
- Extra warm clothes
- First-aid kit
- Basic hand tools
- Mobile phone and car charger with important numbers pre-programmed, including a roadside assistance provider
5. Vehicle Inspection – If it’s almost time for scheduled maintenance, take the opportunity to have the car serviced before a trip. If it has been some time since the vehicle last saw the inside of a repair shop, it would be smart to have it thoroughly inspected by a qualified technician who can identify potential problems before they put a damper on holiday travel.
The AAA Approved Auto Repair program is a free public service that helps consumers find quality auto repair shops they can trust. AAA-approved repair facilities are regularly inspected by AAA for adherence to AAA standards of customer service, technical capabilities and equitable business practices. AAA stands behind the services these shops perform for AAA members. With nearly 8,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America, a nearby repair professional can be quickly located at AAA.com/repair.
Should Thanksgiving travelers experience car trouble during their road trip, AAA has several innovative ways members can request roadside assistance in addition to calling 800-AAA-HELP. iPhone users can request assistance directly from their phone with the AAA Roadside app, which sends their AAA member number, details about their vehicle, the trouble they are experiencing and their location directly to AAA Roadside Assistance. The AAA Roadside app also allows users to quickly locate nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair locations. AAA members also can locate AAA Approved Auto Repair locations with the AAA Discounts and AAA TripTik Mobile apps as well as send their locations to AAA Roadside Assistance. All AAA apps are available from the App Store on iTunes.
Sprint and Nextel users only need to dial *AAA (or *222) from their mobile phones to be connected directly to AAA Roadside Assistance. Sprint users also can use AAA FindMe to have their location sent to AAA Roadside Assistance from any type of GPS-enabled mobile phone. Sprint users should sign up for AAA FindMe for free in advance of their road trip at AAA.com/AAAFindMe.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com
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