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Add Pre-Trip Auto Care to Summer Road Trip Plans

June 22, 2018

With school out for the summer, many families are planning driving vacations. Adding pre-trip auto care to road trip plans lessens 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), and

  • 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, 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 non-profit Car Care Council recommends a vehicle check prior to departure to avoid the hassle and unexpected expense of car trouble away from home, including:

  • 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 should also 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.


Check Vehicle A/C and Stay Cool on the Road

July 6, 2018

Imagine being stuck in traffic on a 90-degree day when your vehicle's air conditioning system malfunctions. With summer heating up, the non-profit Car Care Council recommends that motorists be car care aware and have their A/C system checked to make sure it is working properly.

"As the weather turns warmer, the last thing anyone wants to be is hot under the collar in their vehicle when they are driving to work or on a family vacation," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "Making sure your A/C system is working properly will keep you and your passengers cool and safe, making it a very enjoyable summer on the road."

A vehicle's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) keeps the interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. Typical A/C service by a professional service technician consists of the following steps:

  • Service technician visually inspects hoses, lines, seals and other components for leaks as well as inspects the drive belt for cracks or damage.

  • Technician checks pressure to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.

  • If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Leaking refrigerant heats up a vehicle and damages the ozone layer.

  • Refrigerant may be added, if necessary, to "top off" the system, although some states do not allow "topping off."

  • A technician may also check for evidence of refrigerant cross-contamination.

  • A/C service should also include a check of the compressor's drive belt and tension.

The Car Care Council also recommends that when having a vehicle's HVAC system inspected, the cabin air filter be checked to make sure air is flowing properly into the car.

 

 


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