Is your car summer road trip ready?

TAMPA, Fla: According to the American Driving Survey provided by AAA, Americans drive the most during the summer months, July-September. More than half (55.6%) of calls AAA receives from stranded motorists are due to dead batteries, flat tires, low fuel and lockouts.

“Nothing ruins a summer trip faster than a flat tire, overheated cooling system or battery that quits working on a hot summer day,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA spokeswoman. “That’s why it is important to perform basic safety checks before you get on the road.”

AAA offers theses precautionary tips to ensure you arrive safely:

Car Maintenance:

  • Get your car inspected by an automotive technician before a long trip.
  • Check the tires regularly for uneven or excessive tread wear. Make sure all items, including the spare, are inflated properly. Do at least one check BEFORE hitting the road, as tires hot from driving give inaccurate inflation readings.
  • Check the coolant level and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present.
  • Check the level and condition of the engine oil. If driving under extreme conditions- such as very hot summer weather or pulling a heavy trailer- you may want to consider switching to oil with higher viscosity. Check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
  • Look for worn, cracked, blistered or soft belts or hoses. Always perform this check with the engine off.
  • Hot weather can shorten the life of a car’s battery. If there’s concern; have it tested by a qualified automotive technician.

Don’t let car trouble spoil your travels this summer. Be prepared before you go:

  • Carry an emergency kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit and extra water.
  • When driving at night on unlit roadways, use high beams whenever possible.
  • Don’t let the gas level get below one-quarter of a tank.
  • Select your route on a map or smartphone ahead of time and study it to know exactly where you’re going.
  • Reserve all accommodations in advance.

Lock your car when you leave it and keep valuables out of sight.