Updated: 8:48 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 | Posted: 8:15 p.m. Monday, July 2, 2012
By Jacqui Boyle
AAA tips for drivers on Fourth of July:
Nationally, AAA expects 7.9 million stranded motorists during the summer travel season. Locally, AAA expects a big increase in calls, especially as the temperatures rise.
Here are three maintenance tasks AAA recommends all motorists perform before hitting the road.
1. Check and clean the car battery.
• Check the battery cables, and make sure they are securely attached to the terminals.
• Clean the terminals if there are signs of corrosion. It is not enough to remove external corrosion. Proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the hidden areas.
• Most car batteries have a three to five year service life. If a battery is nearing the end of its life cycle, have it tested at a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop or by the AAA Mobile Battery Service.
2. Inspect all five tires, including your spare tire.
• Begin every tire inspection with a pressure check. Always check tire pressure when the tires are cold and the car has not been driven recently. Use a quality gauge to make sure all five tires are inflated to the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
• After making sure the tires are properly inflated, drivers should inspect the tread depth and overall condition of the tires. To check tread depth, insert a quarter into a tire tread groove with George Washington’s head upside down and facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any area above his head is visible, it might be wise to go tire shopping before you take a long road trip.
• While checking the tire tread wear, also look for signs of uneven wear or abnormal bulges or other damage on the tire treads and sidewalls.
3. Replace wiper blades, and refill washer fluid.
• Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly or more often if the washers are used frequently. Top it off with a solution formulated to aid in the removal of insects and other debris.
• Be sure to test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim before leaving on a trip.
• While topping off the washer fluid, also check the wiper blades. If blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not adequately remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision.