With school out for the summer, many families are planning driving vacations. Adding pre-trip auto care to road-trip plans reduces the chance of a roadside breakdown for all motorists and is even more important for those driving older vehicles, says the Car Care Council.
According to AAA roadside data, vehicles 10 years and older are twice as likely to be stranded at the roadside, and four times more likely to require a tow.
The findings also show that the top reasons for requiring a tow are:
- Battery and electrical systems issues (23 percent)
- Engine cooling system failures (11 percent)
- Tire damage that cannot be repaired or replaced at the roadside (10 percent)
“The Car Care Council urges all drivers to make sure their vehicles are road-trip ready to minimize the chance of car trouble away from home,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “With the average vehicle age exceeding 11.5 years and the odds of a roadside breakdown much greater for those with older vehicles, a pre-trip vehicle inspection is especially important to help ensure a stress-free journey.”
The nonprofit Car Care Council recommends a vehicle check prior to departure to avoid the hassle and unexpected expense of car trouble away from home. Motorists should:
- Check the battery and replace if necessary. Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging. Excessive heat and overcharging shortens the life of a battery.
- Check the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system, as proper cooling performance is critical for interior comfort.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires also should be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.
The Car Care Council also recommends inspecting the brake system, performing a tune-up, checking and restocking the emergency kit, and fully charging cell phones before leaving home.