February 21st, 2017 by Jessica Souto
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.
“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.
October 13th, 2015 by AAA
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 13, 2015) – A significant majority of Americans (70 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a new survey by AAA. The results also show that only 38 percent of Americans believe that Congress is taking the necessary steps to ensure that our roads, bridges and transit systems will meet the needs of the nation.
“Americans rely on our nation’s roads and bridges every day, yet Congressional inaction has led to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe conditions,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “Motorists are dissatisfied that our national leaders repeatedly have failed to meet the basic needs of drivers across the country.”
AAA also asked the public to rank its priorities for transportation funding. Conducting routine maintenance of roads and bridges overwhelmingly topped the list, yet all categories included in the survey received significant support. The complete rankings include:
- Conducting routine maintenance and repair of roads and bridges, such as fixing potholes, repaving roads, etc.: 91 percent rate as important
- Expanding public and shared transportation, such as busses, commuter rail and support for car-pooling: 70 percent rate as important
- Conducting traffic safety training programs on topics such as the dangers of speeding, distracted driving and driving while impaired: 67 percent rate as important
- Reducing traffic congestion and travel time by expanding lanes and adding lanes reserved for high-occupancy vehicles: 65 percent rate as important
- Improving transportation information technology, such as automated road and traffic warning signs and route mapping software: 64 percent rate as important
“Potholes and bad roads increase driver stress and can cause significant vehicle damage requiring costly repairs,” continued Doney. “It’s time for Congress to pass long-term funding legislation that ensures our transportation system receives the maintenance necessary to get Americans to work every day.”
Motorists pay a steep price in the form of high repair bills from hitting potholes and sitting in traffic. U.S. drivers annually spend about $324 in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs due to poor roads and bridges.
Few drivers would be surprised to learn that more than 1 in 3 major U.S. roads are in poor or mediocre condition due to inadequate funding. The American Society of Civil Engineers most recently rated the country’s roads with a nearly failing D grade, while bridges earned a C+.
Transportation underpins the U.S. economy, yet an aging system of roads and bridges threatens to harm the country’s future development. Businesses, factories, employers and consumers must be connected to a dependable and modern transportation network to help build and sustain a healthy economy. Whether it’s the movement of freight or the creation of jobs, the nation depends on seamless and efficient transportation.
Congress has wasted billions of dollars by supporting short-term funding patches for roads and bridges, and AAA is calling for a long-term transportation law that meets the needs of drivers for years to come. The current authorization of the federal highway bill is set to expire on October 29 unless Congress acts soon.
The Highway Trust Fund needs $15 billion more per year just to maintain a flat level of funding, while current federal spending meets just one-third of our transportation needs. An annual investment of $120 billion for highways and bridges between 2015 and 2020 is necessary to improve the condition and performance of the system, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,008 adults, 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted September 10-13, 2015. This study has an average statistical error of 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adults.
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. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.