Experts recommend car check before Thanksgiving travel

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – AAA predicts more than 2.6 million Floridians will choose to drive to their Thanksgiving destinations. Unfortunately, not everyone has an easy drive ahead of them.

The three most common calls will be from drivers with flat tires, dead batteries and/or lockouts.

“Many times, we have a tendency to fall into a false sense of security because we drive the car from home to job, home to job. That’s not the same thing as driving it 400 miles,” said Aaron Nelson, owner of Aaron’s Auto Car Care said.

AAA is expecting more than 368,000 calls for roadside assistance during the travel days. More than 25,000 of those will be in Florida.

Even if drivers do not have time to see a mechanic, there are a variety of things they can look for, to lower the odds of a holiday breakdown.

To avoid trouble on the roadways, check the condition of your car before you leave.

  • AAA offers the following tips:
  • Check your tire pressure and tread. Inspect all four tires and the spare (if you have one). Look for cuts, gouges or sidewall bulges. Check the tire tread by inserting a quarter upside down between the tread. If you can still see the top of George Washington’s head, you need new tires. Check tire pressure before driving. Inflate to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Listen to and feel the brakes. If you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration when applying the brakes, get them professionally inspected. If a repair or replacement is needed, use the Repair Cost Estimator to help anticipate costs.
  • Secure and test the battery. Have a service professional check your battery to determine the remaining capacity. Ensure the cable connections are clean and tight, and the hardware is secure.
  • Top off engine oil and other fluids. Ensure engine oil, coolant and brake transmission, and power steering fluids are all at the correct levels for safe vehicle operation.
  • Replace wiper blades and replenish windshield cleaner fluid. If wipers streak or fail to clear the windshield thoroughly, it’s time for new blades.
  • Check belts and hoses. Replace belts that are cracked, glazed or frayed. As a general rule, drive belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles. Also, radiator hoses should not leak or be worn, brittle, or excessively soft.
  • Replenish emergency kit supplies. Kits should include a cell phone charger, car battery booster cables, flashlight and extra batteries, first-aid supplies, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for people and pets, emergency flares or reflectors, rain poncho, basic tool kit, duct tape, gloves and shop rags or paper towels.

If you do breakdown or have a car issue during your trip, Drivers can visit aaa.com/autorepair to find a trusted local repair facility that has been inspected and certified by AAA.

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