How to get your vehicle road-ready this summer - WNEM TV 5

How to get your vehicle road-ready this summer

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Emergencies are one of the fastest ways to put the brakes on a great vacation, so experts are urging drivers to get their vehicles road-ready for their summer travels. 

AAA expects to rescue over 170,000 Michigan motorists over the summer driving months. According to their 2016 records, over 40 percent of calls were from stranded drivers 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," Susan Hiltz, AAA – The Auto Club Group public affairs director said. "That's why it is important to perform basic safety checks before you get on the road. To help Michiganders enjoy their travels this summer, AAA also offers some useful digital travel tools for free."

AAA offers theses Safe Summer Travel Tips:

Vehicle Maintenance Prep

  • Schedule a checkup. Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out, such as one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. 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.
  • Check the tires regularly for uneven or excessive tread wear. Make sure all tires, including the spare, are inflated properly. For an accurate inflation reading, check tires when they are cool.
  • Check the coolant level and condition, making sure you consult your owner’s manual for the proper mix of water and coolant.
  • 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 when the engine is off and cool.
  • Hot weather can shorten the life of a car's battery. If there's a concern, have it tested by a certified automotive technician.

Road Ready Reminders

  • Make sure all seat belts are operating correctly and provide age-appropriate child passenger seats for all young passengers.
  • Carry an emergency kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices such as reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit and extra water.
  • Use high beams when driving at night on unlit roadways.
  • Don't let the gas level fall below one-quarter of a tank.
  • Select your route ahead of time on a map or smartphone to know exactly where you are going. If you have a smart phone - use the new AAA MOBILE app.
  • If using a GPS system, make sure you program it ahead of time and know how to use it so you are not distracted while driving.
  • Reserve all accommodations in advance and bring information about your destination with you so you can make the most of your trip.
  • Lock your vehicle when you leave it and keep valuables out of sight.

Safe Driving Tips

  • 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.

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