Posts Tagged ‘Tire Pressure light’

American drivers are unprepared for emergency breakdown situations

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 11, 2017) – This summer, AAA expects to rescue 7 million American drivers, with the majority facing battery, lock and tire-related issues. This number could soar higher, with a AAA survey revealing that 4 out of 10 American drivers are unprepared for emergency breakdown situations. With three-quarters of family travelers planning to travel by car to their favorite vacation spot, AAA reminds drivers to take the necessary precautions to ensure they are well prepared for a safe road trip.  

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“Summer heat takes a toll on vehicles, causing overheating engines, tire blowouts and dead batteries,” said Cliff Ruud, AAA’s managing director of AAA Automotive. “Having a disabled vehicle is a stressful and dangerous situation, which is why AAA urges drivers to stock an emergency kit, have their battery tested and inspect tires to make certain their cars are in road-ready condition.”

Unfortunately, AAA has found that many drivers are unprepared for roadside emergencies. Survey data shows that two-thirds of American drivers have never proactively had their car battery tested, 1 in 5 do not know how to change a tire and 4 in 10 do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle.

Other findings from AAA’s 2017 roadside assistance data show:

  • Dead batteries, flat tires and vehicle lockouts are top reasons that members call AAA during the summer.
  • While more than half of members’ problems are resolved at the roadside by AAA, more than 3 million drivers will experience significant vehicle issues this summer that require a tow to a repair facility.
  • With low-profile tires and the elimination of spare tires, many newer vehicles are especially susceptible to roadside trouble.

“Roadside breakdowns continue to rise each year and can be a safety hazard for everyone on the road,” continued Ruud. “AAA is ready to help when vehicle troubles leave you stranded, however, travelers can minimize their risk by planning ahead and preparing properly.”

AAA offers the following tips to help avoid common roadside problems:

  • Schedule a checkup. Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. AAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers free battery testing for AAA members.
  • Pack an emergency kit. Every vehicle should be equipped with a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables and emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks and food for travelers and pets.
  • Prevent lockouts. Always take keys when exiting the car and bring a spare car key on every trip. Avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Additionally, AAA reminds drivers to take the following safety precautions on the road:

  • Drive distraction-free. Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.
  • Comply with the Move Over Law. Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
  • Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.

Before hitting the road, AAA recommends that drivers download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Apple Watch. Travelers can use the app to request AAA roadside assistance, route a trip, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, book a hotel, and more. AAA members can also track the location of their assigned service vehicle in real time with Service Tracker. Learn more at

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides 57 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.

ORLANDO, Fla.,  January 27, 2011

AAA auto repair experts encourage motorists to learn what each of their vehicle’s warning lights mean so they are prepared to react

Christie HydeMost drivers have had a warning light come on while they are behind the wheel, but many do not know how to react.

What does it mean?

Should I pull over?

Will my car quit running?

Is it really that important?

Can’t I just ignore it?

“Warning lights are there for a reason—to let us know something is wrong with our car,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying. “In some cases, ignoring a warning light can quickly result in catastrophic damage to your car’s engine, so it’s important to know what each light means and what you should do if it comes on while driving.”

While not all warning lights indicate disastrous consequences are about to occur, no illuminated warning indicator should ever be ignored. AAA encourages motorists to check their owner’s manual for a detailed explanation of all of the warning lights in their vehicle. Some of the more common indicators found in vehicles are described below.

Oil Pressure Light

The oil pressure light (usually an oil can symbol or the word “OIL”) illuminates when there is a drop in engine oil pressure. Of all the warning lights, the oil pressure light indicates the greatest potential for serious mechanical damage. Unfortunately, it also allows you the shortest time in which to take action.

If the oil pressure warning light comes on and stays on, pull off the road immediately, shut off the engine and call for assistance. Do not attempt to drive the vehicle any further than is absolutely necessary. Doing so will significantly increase the extent of any engine damage—turning what might be a minor repair into a complete engine replacement.

Some drivers mistakenly believe the oil pressure warning light is an oil level indicator that tells when to add engine oil. This is not true. React quickly to this warning light to avoid costly engine damage.

Engine Temperature Light

The engine temperature light (usually a thermometer symbol or the word “TEMP”) comes on when the engine temperature has exceeded the safe maximum. If the increase in temperature is not stopped, major engine damage or catastrophic failure will result. While the engine temperature light also indicates the potential for severe engine damage, it normally gives you a little more time to take action before that occurs.

If there are any signs of a cooling system leak, such as steam or liquid coolant coming from under the hood, pull off the road at the earliest safe opportunity, shut off the engine, and call AAA for assistance. Boiling coolant can cause severe burns, so be careful when opening the hood in the presence of steam, and never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot.

If there is no evidence of a cooling system leak, the overheating may have resulted from a temporary over load of the cooling system. This can sometimes occur in hot weather when the vehicle is heavily loaded or pulling a trailer. To help lower the engine temperature: reduce vehicle speed, turn off the air conditioning, roll down the windows, set the heater to the full hot position and operate the blower motor on its highest setting.

If the warning light does not go out within a couple miles, pull off the road at the first safe opportunity and allow the engine to cool while idling. If the temperature warning light still does not go off after a couple of minutes, shut off the engine and call AAA for assistance.

Charging System Light

The charging system light (usually a battery symbol or the word “ALT” or “GEN”) illuminates when the vehicle electrical system is no longer being supplied power by the alternator. Charging system failure rarely results in serious mechanical damage, and of the “big three” warning lights, this one gives you the greatest amount of time to take appropriate action.

If the charging system light comes on: shut down all unnecessary electrical loads (radio, heater, air conditioning, etc.), then drive the vehicle to a repair facility for further inspection. Generally, you will have at least 15 minutes of daylight driving time before the battery voltage drops to the point where the ignition system will no longer function and the engine will quit.

The charging system light should not be interpreted to mean that the battery needs replacement. A charging system failure may cause the car’s battery to discharge, but that does not automatically mean it needs to be replaced. The complete system should be checked by a trained technician with proper tools and equipment.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light (usually an engine symbol with the words “CHECK ENGINE SOON”) comes on when there is a problem affecting the vehicle’s exhaust emissions. When the check engine light is on, the vehicle may display driveability symptoms and the fuel economy will likely decrease.

If the check engine light comes on and stays on, make an appointment with an auto repair shop to have the problem checked in the near future. However, if the check engine light begins flashing repeatedly, the catalytic converter is overheating. Should this occur, drive the vehicle to a repair shop immediately for further diagnosis. Disregarding a flashing check engine light could start a fire, destroy the catalytic converter and result in necessary repairs that could easily exceed $1,000.

Brake Light

The brake light (usually a circular symbol with an exclamation point and/or the word “BRAKE”) comes on when there is a loss in brake fluid pressure. However, the brake light can also illuminate to signal the emergency brake is on, so drivers should make sure that is not the case before panicking.

If there is a loss of system pressure, the driver may feel the brake pedal depress farther than usual. When the brake warning light comes on it is extremely important to take the car into a repair facility as soon as possible to have the system thoroughly inspected.

Airbag Light

The airbag light (usually a symbol of a seated person with a ball in front of their abdomen) comes on when a problem is detected with the airbag system. When the warning light is on, there is a strong likelihood that one or more of the vehicle airbags have been deactivated and will not deploy if the vehicle becomes involved in a collision. Drivers should make an appointment with a repair facility to have the system inspected as soon as possible.

Tire Pressure Light

The tire pressure monitoring system light (usually a tire cross section symbol with an exclamation point) comes on when one or more tires are significantly underinflated. This may be the result of gradual pressure leakage over time, or an object that has punctured a tire.

If the tire pressure monitoring system displays individual tire pressures, check the dash display. If the pressures are all within a few pounds of one another, the warning is probably from gradual leakage over time; check and adjust the tire pressures as soon as possible. If one pressure is significantly lower than the others, a puncture is likely. A severely deflated tire will also affect handling and may cause the vehicle to drift to one side. Pull off the road at the first available safe location and call AAA for assistance.

Where the tire pressure monitoring system does not display individual tire pressures, pull off the road at the first available safe location and check the tire pressures. If you don’t have a pressure gauge, listen for leaks, feel for objects in the tire treads, and look for a tire that is obviously low on air. If a problem is apparent, call AAA for assistance. Otherwise, drive at reduced speed to the nearest gas station or repair facility to have the tires inspected and the pressures adjusted.

In most cases, the illumination of a warning light on the dashboard should result in a trip to a repair facility for further inspection. To assist consumers seeking quality auto repair shops they can trust, AAA established the Approved Auto Repair program as a free public service. AAA thoroughly inspects and approves nearly 8,000 repair shops across the U.S. To become an Approved Auto Repair facility, a shop must meet and maintain tough professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. AAA Approved Auto Repair customers are surveyed on an ongoing basis, and Approved facilities must maintain a 90 percent (or better) customer satisfaction rating.

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


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