WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Even though the summer travel season has already started, it’s never too late to prepare a car before hitting the road, says AAA Northeast.
Easy maintenance tasks will reduce the chances of becoming stranded on a summer road trip. Check and clean batteries, inspect tires and replace wiper blades.
Check the car battery
Summer heat breaks down car batteries and accelerates the rate of corrosion on the vehicle’s battery terminals. Both conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power. Check battery cables; clean them if there are signs of corrosion. Make sure they’re securely attached to terminals. Depending on local climate and vehicle use, most batteries have a three- to five-year service life.
Inspect all five tires
AAA estimates 85 percent of drivers don’t know how to inflate tires properly, and more than half of all cars on the road have at least one under-inflated tire, including the overlooked spare. Check the tires and the spare with a tire gauge when they’re “cold,” when the car hasn’t been driven. Inflate them to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, which can be found on the placard attached to the driver’s side doorjamb or the owner’s manual.
Check the tread depth and overall condition tires by inserting the quarter in a tire tread groove with Washington’s head upside down, facing outward. Good tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any area above his head is visible, consider replacing tires before a road trip. Look for signs of uneven wear or abnormal bulges or other damage on the tire treads and sidewalls.
Replace wiper blades and refill washer fluid
Check the fluid reservoir monthly, more often if the washers are used frequently. Be sure to test the spray nozzles for proper operation and aim. While topping off the washer fluid, check the wiper blades. Worn, cracked or rigid blades won’t adequately remove rain, grime and other debris. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight and acid rain.
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