TOLEDO, OH (March 20, 2019) – According to the calendar spring has finally arrived, and hopefully winter, and its tough driving conditions, will be in the rearview mirror. The winter of 2018-2019 challenged motorists and their vehicles throughout its three month rein, leaving more than 21,000 area drivers stranded, sometimes in sub-zero conditions. AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team helped drivers with dead batteries (5,791 calls), tire problems (2,908 calls) and keys locked in vehicles (1,854), but the number one service AAA provided was for tows (9,534 calls). Those vehicles experienced a more serious problem, one that routine vehicle maintenance may have prevented.
“Vehicle problems if caught early enough might be corrected before a vehicle breaks down, and often times the cost can be lower,” said AAA Tire & Service Manager, Rob Whitt. “Drivers should pay attention to the way the vehicle handles, also to any new sounds or smells, and if anything seems unusual, take it to a trusted technician for a check-up.”
AAA offers these post-winter car care tips to keep vehicles in top running condition:
- Start with the tires: make sure tires have adequate tread to achieve traction necessary for the wet roadway driving conditions spring will create. Check tire pressure at least monthly and keep pressure set to the tire manufacturer’s recommended level. Follow the recommended schedule for tire rotation.
- Get your battery checked: winter’s bitterly cold temperatures placed extra demand on vehicle batteries. Average battery life is three to five years and drivers are encouraged to have their batteries checked to determine the remaining battery life.
- Windshield wiper blades: cold temperatures are hard on rubber compounds and they are assailed with slush kicked up by traffic. This slush often carries with it corrosive salt used to melt road ice which can do damage to the blades. Early spring is a good time to check and replace wiper blades if necessary. Also check the windshield washer fluid as well because there’s a good chance winter’s dirt has exhausted the reservoir.
- Clean the vehicle underbody: road deicers contain corrosive material that can cause damage to the vehicle and it’s important to remove deicer materials as soon as possible. The best tool to use is a high-pressure sprayer, paying special attention to the area around the front and rear bumpers. Many area self-wash centers offer undercarriage spray as part of the wash package.
- Examine your brakes: like wiper blades, brakes take on a bigger role during wintertime driving and should be checked to ensure they are in good working condition. Listen for brake noises such as grinding, chatter or squeals. Like other critical vehicle components brakes should be checked to determine wear on pads or drums. Often times drivers become accustomed to the feel of worn brakes without realizing that deterioration has occurred affecting the ability to stop safely.
- Check all fluids: winter driving conditions require your engine to work harder and deplete fluid levels faster. Always use the type of fluids recommended by the vehicle manufacturer and follow the recommended schedule for changing fluids.
- Clean the interior: during winter’s cold temperatures drivers often avoid the task of cleaning the interior. Spring is a good time to remove and wash floor liners and vacuum and clean carpets. Make sure liners and carpets are dry before placing them back in the vehicle.
Warmer temperatures will bring busier roadways and drivers should make sure AAA memberships are up-to-date and current. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.