October is Car Care Month and AAA is reminding drivers about the importance of properly maintaining their vehicles. Last winter, AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team responded to more than 33,400 calls for emergency road service in Kansas. Now is the time for drivers to perform preventive maintenance to help avoid a breakdown this winter.
“Learning how to handle common maintenance issues is beneficial to anyone who gets behind the wheel,” said Jim Hanni, Executive Vice President, Kansas Region and Public Affairs. “Proper maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle and help prevent costly repairs.” Below are four simple car care practices AAA recommends every motorist perform on a regular basis:
Check the Air and Wear of Your Tires
Pressure on all tires—including the spare— should be checked monthly, with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. Proper pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker most often located on the driver-side door jamb. Check the tread depth on each tire by placing a quarter upside down in the tread grooves. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, it’s time to start shopping for new tires. Last winter, AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team assisted nearly 4,200 Kansas motorists with flat tires.
Ensure Your Car Battery is Properly Charged
Extreme temperatures break down car batteries internally and accelerate the rate of corrosion on battery terminals, leading to insufficient electrical power and the risk of being stranded without warning. Most car batteries have a service life of 3-5 years, depending on local climate and vehicle usage patterns. Locally, AAA jumpstarted over 8,300 vehicles last winter.
Keep Those Wipers Working
Inspect the wiper blades monthly. Check to see if they are worn, cracked or rigid with age. Damaged wiper blades won’t adequately remove debris, compromising the driver’s vision and safety. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight, acid rain, and ozone.
Work with a Local Repair Shop You Trust
Every car requires routine maintenance and repair. The best time to find a mechanic or auto repair shop is before you need one. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations of repair shops and mechanics. Visit www.aaa.com/repair to find nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, take your vehicle to your top candidate shop for routine maintenance. While there, talk with the employees and take a look at the facility and consider the following questions:
- Does the facility have up-to-date equipment?
- Were you offered a written estimate?
- Does the shop offer a nationwide warranty on parts and labor?
- Are customer areas clean, comfortable and well-organized?
When having your car serviced, follow the factory-recommended maintenance schedule to avoid under- or over- maintaining your vehicle. Oil changes, tire rotations, changing transmission fluid, and replacing an air filter are the types of routine maintenance recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. The maintenance schedule for these services and more can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual.