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AAA urges motorists to take every precaution to avoid car breakdowns in summertime heat

When the mercury in the thermometer goes up, so does the call volume for AAA emergency roadside service, so AAA is urging motorists to take every precaution in an effort to avoid a true emergency.

Because of the pandemic-related shut down, many vehicles have been sitting idle for a prolonged period of time, which can lead to car trouble in itself. Now, the heat of the summer is upon us, when all drivers — and their passengers — are at greater risk.

“When temperatures soar, an inconvenience can quickly escalate to an emergency if motorists are not prepared,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, manager, public and government affairs, AAA Blue Grass. “AAA has seen calls for membership spike over the past few weeks and, while we are more than happy to rescue our members roadside, we’d prefer that everyone get where they are going without incident.”

AAA is encouraging all motorists to make sure their vehicles are road ready, whether taking a trip to the store or planning a trip out of state.

With other travel options limited by COVID-19 concerns, AAA expects Americans to return to the ‘Great American Road Trip’ this summer. It is critical that they include car care prep in their planning.

“Too often, those who join AAA for our hotel and travel discounts find themselves in need of our roadside services, too,” Weaver Hawkins added.

Last year, during the Fourth of July holiday, AAA responded to nearly 1,600 emergency roadside calls in the Bluegrass and more than half of those calls required a tow.

AAA Tips for Preparing your Vehicle for the Heat

1. Battery check. Have a trusted mechanic check your battery. AAA members can request a AAA Roadside Service technician to come to them and test their battery free of charge at any time. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it on location. Most batteries last 3-5 years and each day of extreme weather pushes a battery closer to its end.

2. Tire check. Driving on under-inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.

• Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, not the number molded into the tire sidewall.

• Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb or the inside of the glove compartment door.

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-Some vehicles use different pressures for the front and rear tires. While checking tire pressure—including the spare—drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

3. Check all fluids. When fluid levels are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids, including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid, to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.

4. Stock a Summer Emergency Kit. AAA recommends that your summer emergency kit include:

• Fully charged cellphone
• Jumper cables
• Road flares, bright triangle or emergency beacon—critical to be seen at night
• -Flashlight with extra batteries
• First-aid kit
• Extra water and non-perishable food/snacks
• Extra medications

Supporting Our First Responders and Healthcare Workers

First responders and healthcare workers, stressed for several months now responding to the COVID-19 crisis, may not have had time to take care of their vehicles while taking care of us―and yet they can ill-afford a breakdown in the heat of summer. With that in mind, and as a thank you for their efforts, AAA is providing a discounted membership program for first responders and healthcare workers. More information is available by contacting either AAA location in Lexington.

From AAA Blue Grass

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