Posts Tagged ‘AAA Auto Repair’

Ellen Edmonds Contact TileSeventy percent of U.S. drivers at risk for costly, dangerous rust damage

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2017) – As the end of winter approaches, millions of Americans will face pricey vehicle repairs from rust damage caused by chemicals used to de-ice roadways. According to a new AAA survey, U.S. drivers paid an estimated $15.4 billion in rust repairs caused by de-icing methods over the last five years, or approximately $3 billion annually. AAA warns drivers, especially the 70 percent (150 million) who live in areas affected by snow and ice, to take action to prevent dangerous rust-related vehicle damage to brake lines, fuel tanks, exhaust systems and other critical vehicle components.

Additional Resources

“While the application of de-icing salts and solutions is critical to keeping our nation’s roadways safe every winter, it’s important that drivers pay attention to warning signs that their vehicle may be suffering from rust-related damage,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This can be much more than a cosmetic issue, it can also create serious safety issues for drivers by impacting brake lines, exhaust systems, fuel tanks and electrical connections.”

AAA strongly urges drivers who experience any of the following vehicle malfunctions to immediately move the vehicle off the road to a safe location and have it towed to a trusted repair facility.

  • In-dash warning lights for brakes and other critical systems.
  • A “spongey” or soft feeling when applying pressure to the brake pedal.
  • An unusually loud exhaust sound or the smell of fumes in or around the vehicle.
  • The prominent smell of gasoline or diesel fuel when the vehicle is parked or running.

In recent years, many state and local transportation departments have shifted from using rock salt to liquid de-icers to combat ice and snow on the roadways. These newer alternatives are more effective than traditional salt because they can be applied before a snowstorm, have a lower freezing point and melt ice and snow faster. However, these same characteristics can be even more damaging to vehicles since the chemicals remain in liquid form longer and are more likely to coat components and seep into cracks and crevices where corrosion can accelerate.

“In the last five years, 22 million U.S. drivers have experienced rust damage to their cars due to salt and liquid de-icers,” continued Nielsen. “In addition to the safety risk, repairs to fix these problems are often costly, averaging almost $500 per occurrence.”

While some rust damage is unavoidable, AAA recommends drivers take the following preventative steps in order to reduce the possibility of vehicle damage:

  • When possible, limit driving immediately before, during and after winter storms when salt and de-icing solutions are being applied and are at their highest concentrations.
  • Frequently wash your vehicle, paying particular attention to the undercarriage. This will loosen, dissolve and neutralize road salts. Many drive-through car washes offer an undercarriage rinse as an option.
  • Always use a high-quality car wash solution, not a household dish detergent that will strip the wax from your vehicle.
  • Repair any body damage and touch up paint scratches and chips that expose bare metal which could lead to rust.
  • Before the start of winter, thoroughly wash and clean your vehicle prior to the start of winter and apply a coat of wax to protect the finish.
  • Give the entire vehicle and undercarriage one last cleaning in the spring. Any deposits left over from winter can continue to cause corrosion year-round if not properly removed.

Pothole damage is another concern for drivers, as snow and ice melt and roadways begin to crumble. A new AAA survey found that nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage significant enough to require repair in 2016, with repair bills ranging from under $250 to more than $1000. To address this issue, AAA believes that more funding is needed to keep pace with critical repairs and ongoing maintenance of the nation’s roadways.

When pothole or rust damage occurs, it is imperative to choose a reputable repair facility. The AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) network includes nearly 7,000 facilities which have met AAA’s high standards, including, certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, rigorous inspections and customer satisfaction. AAA members are eligible for special benefits such as priority service, a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty, discounts, free inspections, dispute resolution assistance and more. To locate an AAR shop in your area, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Most U.S. Drivers Leery of Auto Repair Shops

December 1st, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Mariam Ali Contact TileAAA advises that finding a trusted mechanic is more important than ever

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 1, 2016) – According to a new AAA survey, two out of three U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general – citing overcharges, recommendations for unnecessary services and poor past experiences for their lack of confidence. However, the survey also reveals that the majority (64 percent) of U.S. drivers have singled out an auto repair shop that they do trust, suggesting that consumers have prioritized finding a reliable mechanic in an industry with imperfect reputation. AAA urges all drivers to identify a reputable repair facility well before one is needed.

Additional Resources

“To minimize the stress associated with vehicle repair and maintenance, it is critical that drivers find an honest repair shop that they can trust with their vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “AAA found that one-third of U.S. drivers – 75 million motorists in total – have yet to find a trusted repair facility, leaving them vulnerable when trouble strikes.”

With today’s cars collecting a variety of data about the health of the vehicle, drivers need a trusted repair facility more than ever. “Connected cars” with built-in diagnostic capabilities can alert drivers to vehicle trouble and help repair shops quickly and accurately address issues. Unsurprisingly, given concerns around data security, AAA found that the majority of U.S. drivers want the ability to direct their vehicle’s data to the repair shop of their choice – the trusted facility with whom they have built a relationship.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • The top reasons that U.S. drivers do not trust repair shops are:
    • Recommending unnecessary services (76 percent)
    • Overcharging for services (73 percent)
    • Negative past experiences (63 percent)
    • Concerns that the work will not be done correctly (49 percent)
  • Older drivers are more likely to trust auto repair shops than younger drivers.
    • Baby Boomers are twice as likely than younger generations to fully trust auto repair facilities in general, with one-in-five reporting they “totally trust” the industry.
    • Baby Boomers (76 percent) are also more likely to have a chosen auto repair shop that they trust compared to Millennials (55 percent) and Gen-Xers (56 percent).

“As a service to our members and the general public, the AAA Approved Auto Repair program is designed to help drivers identify trustworthy repair shops,” Nielsen continued. “Facilities meet AAA standards by undergoing a rigorous investigation conducted by Automotive Service Excellence certified inspectors, including quarterly inspections and annual re-certifications that ensures high professional standards for technical training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Plus, if something does go wrong, AAA steps in to arbitrate any issues on behalf of its members.”

To find a trustworthy auto repair shop, AAA suggests that drivers:

  • Look for a repair shop before issues occur. Ask family and friends for recommendations and visit AAA.com/autorepair to locate an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility near you.
  • Research potential repair shops and find out how long they have been in business. This can be a good indicator of shop quality. Also, look into how they deal with consumer complaints. The Better Business Bureau, State Department of Consumer Affairs or attorney general’s office can provide those complaints.
  • Visit the auto repair shop for a minor job such as an oil change or tire rotation. While waiting, talk with shop employees and inspect the shop’s appearance, amenities, technician credentials, and parts and labor warranty. If you find the service to be good, stick with them. Build a relationship with the technician so they can get to know you and your vehicle.

AAA’s Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program was created more than 35 years ago and includes nearly 7,000 facilities across North America. Once a shop meets AAA’s high standards, including certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, it becomes part of the AAR program where it’s re-inspected annually and monitored for customer satisfaction. AAA members receive several unique benefits by selecting an AAR facility, including priority service, a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty, discounts on repairs, free inspections, AAA assistance with dispute resolutions and more.

For additional information about the survey, including a fact sheet and infographics, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

(WASHINGTON, November 19, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.42.  This price is two cents less expensive than one week ago and 28 cents less expensive than one month ago, however it is still five cents more expensive that one year ago and the highest price on record for this calendar day.  Today’s price continues the streak of daily record prices that began on August 20.

To begin last week, motorists in some of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy still faced long lines at the pump due to lingering regional fuel distribution issues in the aftermath of the storm.  In response to these lines, northern New Jersey, New York City and Long Island each imposed odd-even gasoline rationing policies.  As distribution has returned to normal and lines have dwindled, New Jersey ended rationing rules last Tuesday, after ten days, and Long Island lifted the restriction last Friday at midnight, after eight days.  Rationing in New York City was scheduled to end today but has been extended through Friday citing the Thanksgiving travel week.

Both long lines at the pump and gasoline rationing policies have drawn comparisons to those seen in the 1970s.  The circumstances, however, are very different.  While the recent situation was due to a temporary and regional disruption to distribution, the situation in the 1970s was due to a prolonged and nationwide supply shortage.

While pump prices in New York and New Jersey did increase following the hurricane, prices have just as quickly returned lower as power and distribution issues have been resolved.  Prices in Long Island are 16 cents lower than one week ago, prices in New York City are 11 cents lower and prices in New Jersey are eight cents lower.

Nationally, the retail price of gas has been falling steadily since mid-September.  Motorists in every state are paying less at the pump than they were one month ago, with the sole exception being drivers in Ohio. Consumers in the Buckeye State are paying one-tenth of a penny more than a month ago but still 36 cents less than in September.  Motorists in Hawaii ($4.11) and Alaska ($3.97) pay the most for a gallon of gasoline, while those in Missouri ($3.08) and South Carolina ($3.12) pay the least.

AAA expects that gas prices across the country will continue to decline approaching the end of the year, barring any major market moving news, as lower demand, cheaper winter-blend gasoline and economic concerns continue to pressure pump prices lower.

Two such potential market moving news items have been front and center over the last week: escalating violence between Israel and Palestine and the looming U.S. “fiscal cliff.”  While neither Israel nor Palestine is a major oil producer, increased geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East puts upward pressure on prices, as do signs in Washington of progress working to address economic concerns.  Oil prices last week remained flat, however developments with both stories prompted bullish market sentiment and sent prices sharply higher today.  At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was up $2.36 on the day to settle at $89.28 per barrel — the highest settlement price since this day last month.

(WASHINGTON, November 12, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.44.  This price is three cents less expensive than one week ago and 36 cents less expensive than one month ago. For nearly three months the national average has been the highest on record each calendar day, however that gap has almost disappeared.  One month ago the national average exceeded the previous record for that day, also set in 2011, by more than 30 cents. Today it is less than a penny and may fall below last year’s price before the end of the week.

The national average reached a recent peak of $3.87 per gallon on September 14, the day before the many parts of the country made the seasonal switch from summer- to winter-blend gasoline. Since that peak, the price has fallen 43 cents, including 31 of the past 32 days as lower crude oil prices, reduced demand, and economic growth concerns have pressured pump prices lower.  Every state and Washington, D.C. has a price today that is lower than mid-September, and in many cases the price is much lower.  However, nine states (Ill., Ind., Kent., Mich., Minn., New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Wisc.) have seen prices rise in the last week.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, power outages in New York and New Jersey left many stations unable to operate pumps, despite gasoline in their storage tanks.  Long lines developed quickly in many areas with only a limited number of open stations. Even as power was restored to some stations, others with electricity ran out of fuel to sell because of distribution issues from closed petroleum terminals and infrastructure damage.  While stations have continued to reopen as electricity has been restored to many impacted regions, long lines have persisted as distribution and resupply issues are slowly resolved.

On Nov. 2, AAA estimated that 45-50 percent of stations in New Jersey and 40-45 percent of stations in New York City were in operation – meaning they had conducted at least one fuel transaction that day.  As of today, AAA estimates this number has improved to 70-75 percent of stations in New York City and 80-85 percent in New Jersey.

Looking up the supply chain, to the closed terminals that are currently the primary factor in distribution issues, on November 1 the Department of Energy reported that 13 of 57 terminals in the path of the storm were closed, as of today the Agency reports that seven remain shut.  The issues in restoring these terminals to normal operation is the primary reason motorists have continued to experience lines at gas stations in some areas, and has led to continued gasoline rationing in New York City and Long Island. New Jersey announced today that it is ending gasoline rationing beginning at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning.

This continues to be a distribution problem and not a systemic issue with gasoline supplies.  As petroleum terminals return to service, there is plenty of gasoline ready to make its way to stations.  Once this is able to happen, AAA expects pump prices in affected areas to follow the rest of the country lower. AAA predicts that the national average price will be $3.25-3.40 by Thanksgiving and $3.10-3.30 by the end of the year.

Lower crude oil prices have added to the recent downward pressure on retail gasoline prices.  With continued signs of global economic weakness and a somewhat stronger U.S. dollar, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have continued to move lower.  At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI crude oil was down 50 cents on the day to settle at $85.57 per barrel.

(WASHINGTON, November 5, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.47 — the lowest price in more than 100 days.  This price is 17 cents less expensive than one week ago and 34 cents less expensive than one month ago. The national average has been the highest on record each calendar day since late August; however the gap between this year’s price and the previous record has nearly closed.  Three weeks ago the national average exceeded the previous record for that day, also set in 2011, by more than 30 cents. Today it is only a nickel.  The national average price at the pump has now fallen for 24 consecutive days, the longest streak since prices earlier this year dropped 26 days in a row from May 15 through June 11.

The only lines longer than those expected at polling locations for tomorrow’s presidential election may be those seen during the last week at some gas stations in New York and New Jersey.  Power outages and distribution issues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy left some delivery terminals and service stations — particularly in Northern New Jersey and New York City — without electricity and thus unable to deliver gasoline to stations and consumers.  It is important for motorists to realize that this continues to be an issue of electrical supply rather than a gasoline shortage.  Once power is restored, there is more than adequate gasoline supply ready to be delivered to consumers.

The U.S. Department of Energy reported this morning that 11 of the 57 terminals affected by Hurricane Sandy remain closed.  On Friday, AAA estimated the number of stations operating in both New Jersey and New York City at 45-50% and Long Island at 35-40%.  As of this afternoon, AAA estimates that each of these numbers has improved: New Jersey – 55-60%, New York City – 60-65%, and Long Island – 50-55%.

The result of this truncated delivery system has been the sometimes long lines at those stations with power to run pumps and sell gasoline.  As power is restored in the coming days, these lines and distribution issues are expected to continue to diminish, and prices will be expected to move lower.

Since last Monday, the price at the pump has increased by three cents in New York and nearly seven cents in New Jersey.  During the same period, prices have fallen in every other state and Washington, D.C., led by declines on the West Coast: Calif. -18.5 cents, Wash. -13.6 cents, and Ore. -13 cents.  The price in every state, including New York and New Jersey, is lower today than it was one month ago.  During that time, the price has fallen by more than 40 cents in 11 states and by more than a quarter in 32 total states.

While prices in some storm affected areas have increased temporarily, ultimately the price impact of Hurricane Sandy will be due to demand destruction rather than supply destruction and pump prices will continue to decline.  When demand numbers are announced later this week, AAA expects that, in the days following the storm, American’s will have consumed one to two million barrels per day less of gasoline than in the days prior to the hurricane. This demand destruction will add to the recent downward pressure on gasoline prices from already low demand, continued economic concerns, and the switch to less expensive, winter-blend gasoline. AAA continues to predict that the national average will be $3.25-3.40 by Thanksgiving and $3.10-3.30 by the end of the year.

Lower crude oil prices have added to the recent doward pressure on retail gasoline prices.  With continued signs of global economic weakness and a somewhat stronger U.S. dollar, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices ended last week below $85 per barrel for the first time since July 10.  At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI crude oil had risen back above this threshhold, settling down 79 cents on the day at $85.65 per barrel.

ORLANDO, Fla., September 26, 2011

Looking for Flood Damage

Many Americans have been devastated by flooding in the past few weeks and months. In those regions, private vehicle owners, auto dealers and car auction managers face the dilemma of salvaging or restoring flood-damaged vehicles.

AAA warns car buyers that flood-damaged vehicles can be shipped anywhere for resale, and they often continue to appear in the marketplace for up to a year after a major flood. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, vehicles that were flood-damaged in the hurricane affected areas were shipped throughout the United States for sale as both new and used cars.

“Depending on the vehicle make, model and age, the cost of a thorough cleaning and drying may exceed the car’s value,” said John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair. “In many cases, insurance companies ‘total’ flood-damaged vehicles which are then sold to salvage companies.”

“However, rather than being disassembled for parts, some of these vehicles end up being purchased by individuals who bring varying levels of expertise to the restoration process,” continued Nielsen.

If a car has been completely submerged, extensive disassembly may be needed for a thorough cleaning. Many parts of a car are difficult to clean and dry because they are hard to access. Door locks, window mechanisms, wiring harnesses, heating and air conditioning components and many other small devices are tucked away in hidden spaces. Initially, these items may operate properly following a flood only to fail at a later date due to contamination.

The car’s electrical system is particularly vulnerable to flood water damage. Engine computers, sensors and other electrical devices can sometimes be salvaged but unless they are thoroughly cleaned and dried, problems caused by corrosion and oxidation may occur months after the flood.

AAA Tips…How to Spot a Flood-Damaged Vehicle

  • Obtain a CARFAX Vehicle History Report – This report can potentially reveal if the vehicle has been involved in a flood, major accident, fire, or uncover odometer fraud.
  • Engage your sense of smell to detect any damp or musty odors inside the vehicle.
  • Has the carpet or upholstery been replaced or recently shampooed? Pullback the carpet at different areas and look for mud, dirt or signs of water stains.
  • Inspect the dashboard underside for signs of mud and dirt. This is a particularly hard area to clean.
  • Look under the vehicle for corrosion. It is uncommon to find corrosion in newer vehicles and those that are owned or sold in southern states.
  • Open all doors, hood, and trunk to inspect for corrosion, mud and dirt or discoloration on the door frames, hinges and under the weather stripping. Pay special attention to small spaces and crevices that are difficult to clean.
  • Check all warning lights, window motors, and all electrical components to ensure they are working properly. While a non-working part alone does not mean the vehicle was flooded, it combined with other difficulties is a cause for concern.
  • Always have the vehicle inspected by a quality repair facility prior to purchasing. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities are located across the United States. Nearby locations can be found at AAA.com/Repair.

AAA encourages motorists to contact their insurance companies before purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle. If the vehicle was purchased prior to the discovery that it was flood-damaged, owners should contact their insurance company for advice.

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 non-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 around the clock at AAA.com.

HEATHROW, Fla., September 16, 2011

AAA Automotive experts recommend ten things drivers should consider when selecting a shop to maintain and repair their vehicles

Fifty four percent of American drivers report they have decided to keep an existing vehicle rather than invest in a newer one, according to a recent AAA survey. In addition, many drivers are foregoing routine vehicle maintenance to save money now, knowing they risk higher repair costs in the future. These findings make it more important than ever for drivers to develop a trusted relationship with a professional auto repair facility.

AAA Automotive experts believe the best way to save money over the life of a vehicle is to choose a high-quality, full-service repair shop and allow them do all of the necessary maintenance and repair work.

“Drivers can take comfort in the knowledge that their vehicle will be serviced by trained professionals who can identify any potential problems,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Repair. “This helps prevent breakdowns, and often saves money by allowing drivers to make a small repair now rather than a much bigger one later.”

“As a repair shop’s technicians get to know a vehicle and its owner, they can also give valuable advice on any upcoming work that will be needed,” continued Nielsen.

The best time to look for a repair facility is before one is needed. Drivers can ask family and friends for recommendations, or visit AAA.com/repair to find nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) shops. AAA Automotive experts recommend that drivers consider these ten areas when selecting a repair shop:

1. Facility Type

When evaluating full-service auto repair shops, drivers have three basic choices:

  • Dealerships – Dealer service departments are very familiar with common problems on the makes of cars they sell. Dealers also have factory-trained technicians, and are keenly aware of technical service bulletins or other special service advisories.
  • Independents Quality independent repair shops may be slightly less expensive than dealers, and tend to have higher overall customer satisfaction. In addition, customers at independent repair shop are more likely to deal directly with the owner or technician, making it easier to develop relationships with the people who service their cars.
  • Specialists Some independent repair shops specialize in certain vehicle makes or specific vehicle systems. By focusing on a limited part of the market, these shops can provide very efficient and effective service.

2. Appearance

A clean, well-organized repair facility reflects attention to detail and an effort to maintain a professional image.

3. Amenities

The facility should have a comfortable waiting area and clean restrooms. Many shops now have pick-up and drop-off service for the convenience of customers.

4. Technicians

The facility should employ qualified technicians who receive ongoing training in the latest technology. Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) are often posted, and dealerships may display vehicle manufacturer service training credentials. Collision repair shops often have certificates from training offered by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR).

5. Equipment

A good repair shop will have up-to-date service equipment and repair data. The amount of information necessary to repair modern cars can no longer be effectively contained in paper manuals. Quality shops today have Internet access to repair information or an on-site service information library of CD/DVD ROMs.

6. Reputation

Time in business can be a good indicator of repair shop quality. Checks with the Better Business Bureau and state department of consumer affairs or Attorney General’s office will provide information on the shop’s handling of any consumer complaints.

7. Discounts

Selecting a quality repair facility that offers discounts on needed services is an excellent way to stretch repair dollars in this uncertain economy. Drivers who pay for repairs with a credit card may want to consider using the AAA Member Rewards Visa® card, whose reward points can be redeemed for $55 vouchers good towards auto repairs at any AAR facility. For more information, visit AAA.com/creditcard.

8. Warranty

Quality shops offer at least a 12-month/12,000-mile parts and labor warranty on their work. Drivers who travel regularly should make sure the warranty is honored nationally.

9. Look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) sign

AAA created the AAR program more than 35 years ago to help motorists find high-quality automotive service. Today, there are nearly 8,000 AAR facilities across North America. The AAR program includes dealers, independent and speciality repair shops. Every AAA-approved facility undergoes a thorough investigation, and less than half of all applicants are approved. AAA looks into all the areas discussed above, and much more. After approval, AAR shops are visited quarterly, re-inspected annually and monitored for customer satisfaction to ensure ongoing compliance with AAA standards. To locate nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities, visit AAA.com/repair.

In addition to the added peace of mind that comes with AAA approval, AAA members receive the following benefits at AAR shops:

  • Free Maintenance Inspection – On request, when having paid repair work done by an AAR facility, your vehicle will be inspected at no charge for those items that most frequently contribute to roadside breakdowns.
  • Written Estimate – You will be provided a written estimate of the cost of all work to be performed on your vehicle. The final cost may not exceed the estimate by more than 10 percent unless authorized by you in advance.
  • Warranty – Unless otherwise specified in writing prior to the start of work, all repairs (both parts and labor) are guaranteed for a minimum of 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, under normal operating conditions.
  • Dispute Resolution – AAA will investigate any dispute between a AAA member and an AAR facility. AAA’s resolution decision is binding on the facility, but you are not bound by AAA’s decision and may seek recourse through other avenues.

Many AAR facilities also participate in the AAA Show Your Card & Save program and offer discounts to AAA members. Visit AAA.com/discounts for more information.

10. Test-Drive the Repair Shop

Once a potential repair facility has been identified, visit the shop for a minor service like an oil change or tire rotation. While you wait, talk with the repair facility employees and do a final evaluation of the shop using the criteria discussed above.

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 it’s 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. Visit AAA clubs on the Internet at AAA.com.

 

ORLANDO, Fla.,  August 30, 2011

Christie HydeAAA Auto Buying experts release list with variety of tailgating vehicle options from traditional trucks to hybrids to crossovers 
College football season kicks off this week and the NFL regular season will soon follow. For many Americans, that means it’s time to load up their car or truck for tailgating prior to the game. AAA Auto Buying experts are kicking off football season by releasing their list of top vehicle picks for tailgating.

“Tailgate parties are synonymous with football season. While some diehard fans will purchase an older vehicle and deck it out with their team colors and features specifically for tailgating, most fans head to the stadium in the vehicles they use every day,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information.

Additional AAA Top Picks Lists:

“If you’re an avid tailgater and in the market for a new vehicle, AAA Auto Buying experts have compiled a list of vehicles you should check out before the big game.”

Tailgating vehicles are traditionally thought of as trucks and SUVs. For those football fans seeking a more traditional vehicle, AAA Auto Buying experts have three top picks:

Ford F-150 EcoBoost: For fans who like their tailgating vehicles to actually have a tailgate, AAA Auto Buying experts suggest the Ford F-150 EcoBoost. It’s a pickup truck with V-8 power and six-cylinder fuel economy. The extended and crew cabs make it easy to carry friends and family to the game in surprising comfort while the cargo box easily accommodates everything necessary for a great tailgating experience. The TrueCar national average selling price of the 2011 Ford F-150 SuperCab XLT is $32,245, 6.8 percent less than the MSRP.

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid: Fans seeking a slightly ‘greener’ vehicle for tailgating that still provides them with all the room they need for a good tailgating party should consider the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. The cavernous interior provides ample room to carry fans and supplies to the big game. But for those who want a deluxe tailgating experience, the Tahoe’s generous towing rating makes it easy to haul a separate trailer filled with the ultimate tailgating supplies. The TrueCar national average selling price for the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is $46,073, which is 11.6 percent less than the MSRP.

Chevrolet Avalanche: The Chevrolet Avalanche allows fans to enjoy an actual tailgate at their tailgating party while also being able to securely lock away their supplies when they head inside the stadium. The Avalanche has a unique combination of a crew cab pickup truck passenger cabin with a cargo box that can be locked and kept weather-tight. The TrueCar national average selling price for the 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche is $31,780, 14.7 percent less than MSRP

AAA Auto Buying experts recognize not all football fans may want a large truck or SUV for their everyday driving, and therefore named three less traditional tailgating vehicles to the top picks list, as well:

Ford Flex: For fans looking for tons of room without getting an SUV, AAA Auto Buying experts suggest the Ford Flex. Its boxy styling delivers an exceptionally roomy interior that is perfect for passengers, coolers, grills and folding furniture. The EcoBoost engine, with its improved performance and better fuel economy (over the standard V-6), makes the Flex even more attractive as a spacious SUV alternative for tailgating. The TrueCar national average selling price of the 2011 Ford Flex with Ecoboost is $34,169, which is 9.8 percent less than the MSRP

Subaru Forester: For diehard fans that tailgate in any weather — be it rain, sleet or snow — they want a vehicle like the all-wheel-drive Subaru Forester that can get them through any conditions to the game. In addition to delivering exceptional value, this crossover utility vehicle offers lively engine response (in the turbo version), comfortable seating with room for four and above average ride and handling. In addition, the cargo area should be more than capable of handling the basic necessities for a good tailgating party. The TrueCar national average selling price of the 2011 Subaru Forrester is $20,537, 4.6 percent less than the MSRP.

Nissan Cube: The most untraditional pick by AAA Auto Buying experts for tailgating is the Nissan Cube. Its stylings may appeal more to college student or recent graduates, but it still provides amazing amounts of room for party food and tailgating gear. Additionally, the Cube has an exceptional turning radius and swing-out tailgate that will make maneuvering and setup in a crowded parking lot a breeze. The TrueCar national average selling price of the 2011 Nissan Cube is $14,697, which is 5.2 percent less than the MSRP.

AAA’s top picks are selected by its AAA Auto Buying experts who test drive and evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year. AAA provides free vehicle reviews, localized pricing information and more for consumers online at AAA.com/AutoMaker. Additional information on AAA Auto Buying is available at AAA.com/AutoBuying.

TrueCar is the AAA preferred supplier for new car pricing data for the motor club. TrueCar is a trusted source for car buyers and car dealers, providing what other people actually paid for a vehicle within the last 30 days, locally, regionally and nationally using multiple, and even duplicate sources to gather and authenticate their data. Those in the market for a new vehicle can configure the vehicle they want and get the TrueCar average selling price at AAA.com/AutoMaker. Vehicle pricing will vary based on trim packages, and prices included with the top picks are based upon specific trim.

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.

ORLANDO, Fla., March 16, 2011

Nation’s largest motor club offers tips to owners and potential buyers of flood-damaged cars

Heavy rain and rapidly melting snow can lead to vehicle flood damage, which often results in difficult and expensive repairs. To avoid causing additional problems, AAA cautions motorists that a flood-damaged car should not be started until a thorough inspection and cleaning has been performed.

“In addition to the obvious damage done to upholstery and carpeting, flood water is a corrosive and abrasive mixture of water and dirt that works its way into every seam and crevice of a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information.

“Most vulnerable are the engine, transmission and drivetrain, along with the fuel, brake and power steering systems. Unless dirt and other contaminants are completely removed from these important vehicle components, increased wear and premature failure can result,” Nielsen said.

Before attempting to start a flood-damaged car, a qualified technician should:

  • Inspect all readily accessible mechanical and electrical components, and systems that contain fluids, for water contamination.
  • Drain floodwater from contaminated components and systems, flush with clean water or an appropriate solvent, and refill with new clean fluids of the proper type.
  • Inspect, clean, and dry electrical system components and connections.

If a car has been completely or partially submerged, extensive disassembly may be needed for a thorough cleaning. Depending on the vehicle make, model and age, the cost of such an effort may exceed the car’s value. AAA encourages motorists to contact their insurance companies first for help in determining the best course of action when dealing with a flood-damaged vehicle.

“The car’s electrical system also is subject to flood water damage,” Nielsen explained. “Engine computers, sensors, sound systems and other electronic devices can sometimes be salvaged, but unless they are thoroughly cleaned and dried, inside and out, problems caused by corrosion and oxidation may occur weeks or even months after the flooding.”

Many parts of a car are difficult to clean and dry because they are hard to access. Door locks, window regulators, wiring harnesses, heating and air conditioning components and many other small devices are tucked away in hidden spaces. These items may work okay initially following a flood, only to fail at a later date due to contamination by dirty water.

“Restoration of a flood-damaged car can be as extensive and expensive as restoring a classic,” Nielsen warned. “Compare the value of the vehicle to be restored to the cost of restoration before proceeding with flood-related repairs.”

In many cases, insurance companies “total” flood damaged vehicles which are then sold to salvage companies. However, rather than being disassembled for parts, some of these vehicles end up being purchased by individuals who restore them to operating condition—with varying levels of expertise. AAA warns car buyers in all parts of the United States that flood-damaged vehicles can be shipped anywhere for resale, and they often continue to appear in the marketplace for many months following a major flood.

The best protection against buying a flood-damaged vehicle is a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a qualified shop such as a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility. Nearby locations can be found at AAA.com/Repair. As part of their inspection, the shop will look for common indicators of flood damage such as dried mud under the hood or in body cavities inside the trunk. A damp or musty odor in the vehicle is another frequent warning sign, and new carpeting and upholstery in an older car can be a red flag calling for closer inspection.

Another good practice that can help prospective buyers avoid flood-damaged cars and trucks is the purchase of a vehicle history report. While such reports don’t always catch everything, more often than not they will indicate when a vehicle has been in a flood or been issued a salvage title, indicating a major problem in its past.

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.

 

ORLANDO, Fla., February 10, 2011

As the winter snow and ice begin to melt, unpleasant potholes can begin to appear and become a threat to vehicles

Christie HydeWhen winter’s snow and ice finally melt away, they invariably leave behind an unpleasant reminder of this winter’s severe storm season—potholes.
“Major winter storms have affected much of the country this season. While many motorists’ cars have made it through the winter storm season unscathed, they could still fall victim to a pothole left in its aftermath,” said John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair and Buying Programs.

Potholes form when moisture collects in small holes and cracks in the road surface. As temperatures rise and fall, the moisture expands and contracts due to freezing and thawing. This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually results in a pothole.

Additional Resources

To aid motorists in protecting their vehicles from pothole damage, AAA recommends the following:

Inspect Tires – The tire is the most important cushion between a car and a pothole. Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. To check the tread depth, insert a quarter into the tread groove with Washington’s head upside down. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to start shopping for new tires. When checking tire pressures, ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels, which can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb. Do not use the pressure levels stamped on the sidewall of the tire.

Inspect Suspension – Make certain struts and shock absorbers are in good condition. Changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration or uneven tire wear can indicate bad shocks or struts. Have the suspension inspected by a certified technician if you suspect problems.

Look Ahead – Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it’s important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this will not cause a collision or endanger nearby pedestrians or cyclists.

Slow Down – If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components.

Beware of Puddles – A puddle of water can disguise a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.

Check Alignment – Hitting a pothole can knock a car’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls to the left of right, have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.

Recognize Noises/Vibrations – A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.

To help consumers identify quality auto repair shops that can maintain and repair their vehicles, AAA established the Approved Auto Repair program as a free public service. Approved Auto Repair shops are inspected by AAA automotive specialists and must meet and maintain high professional standards for technical training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Customers of approved shops are continually surveyed, and every approved facility must maintain a 90 percent or higher customer satisfaction score in all areas. Consumers can locate nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities online at AAA.com/Repair.

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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