Nearly 48.3 million prepping for Thanksgiving road trips

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AURORA, Ill. – Nearly 48.3 million Americans will hit the road this Thanksgiving. Is your vehicle road trip ready?

AAA estimates that 400,000 Americans will need roadside assistance during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, thanks to three common offenders such as dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts.

“Most vehicle problems like these could be prevented with a pre-trip vehicle inspection,” said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA –The Auto Club Group. “Before you hit the road this Thanksgiving, make sure to check everything from the battery to the tires. That could make the difference between spending Thanksgiving at the table or on the roadside.”

To find a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, click here.

Top 5 Items on an Auto Checklist

  • Tires
  • Battery
  • Brakes
  • Fluids
  • Wiper Blades

TIRES

If neglected, tires could create serious consequences – ranging from a simple flat to a blowout.

Check your tires once a month, at minimum, and before taking a long trip. Check to make sure that you have a spare tire and that it’s inflated. Make sure each tire and the spare is free of cuts, gouges or sidewall bulges.  

  • Check Tire Inflation Pressure – Check tire pressure when the car has been idle and tires are cool. Inflate as needed to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. You will find it listed in the owner’s manual and on the sticker on the driver side door. Do NOT use the number on the tire sidewall.
  • Check Tire Tread Depth – Insert a quarter upside down into the grooves. If you see the top of George Washington’s head, it is time for new tires. Be sure to check in multiple spots since some tires can wear unevenly.

BATTERIES

Changes in temperature can take a toll on your car battery. Have a service professional do a battery check to determine the remaining capacity.

Symptoms of a dying battery include:

  • Car hesitates or slowly cranks when you’re trying to start it
  • A grinding, clicking or buzzing sound when you turn the ignition
  • Dim headlights, especially when your car is idling
  • The battery warning light is illuminated
  • Corrosion, cracks or bulges on your battery

IMPORTANT VEHICLE FEATURES TO CHECK:

  • Brakes – Listen to and feel the brakes – If you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration when applying brakes, take your vehicle in to a specialist for a brake inspection.
  • Top off engine oil and other fluids – Check that engine oil, coolant, brake, transmission and power steering fluids are at the correct levels for safe vehicle operation. Make sure to use products that meet specifications in the owner’s manual.
  • Replace wiper blades and replenish windshield cleaner – Rubber wiper blades naturally deteriorate over time. If the wipers fail to clear the windshield thoroughly, it’s time for a replacement. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with fluid formulated to appropriate cleaning and make sure your spray nozzles are clear.
  • Replenish emergency kit supplies – Keep a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle that includes such things as a flashlight, extra fresh batteries, first-aid supplies, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for all passengers, car battery booster cables, emergency flares and reflectors, a poncho, a basic tool kit, gloves, shop rags, papertowels and duct tape.

What to Do If Your Vehicle Breaks Down

  • Pull off the road to a safe place
  • Turn on emergency flashers to notify other drivers
  • Call for roadside assistance
  • Stay with your vehicle, unless it is unsafe to do so

Drivers who find themselves stranded can reach AAA by calling or texting “HELP” to 1-800-AAA-HELP (save this in your contacts), submitting a request via the web (bookmark in your favorites), or using the AAA mobile app (available on Google Play or in the App Store).

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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