October is Car Care Month, and AAA reminds drivers that as the weather cools, they should complete a seasonal checkup to maximize vehicle safety and efficiency.
Keeping up with maintenance and repairs for your car now can save you a breakdown on the side of the road later, according to an AAA report. Unfortunately, 35 percent of Americans have skipped or delayed recommended service and repairs.
“According to a survey of AAA’s certified Approved Auto Repair shops, consumers that forget or ignore recommended maintenance ultimately pay higher repair costs,” cautioned John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “These repair facilities estimate drivers can save an average of one hundred dollars per visit simply by properly maintaining their vehicle.”
In 2014, AAA responded to 17 million calls for roadside assistance due to battery failure, flat tires and keys locked inside vehicles.
Batteries typically last between three and five years, with reduced battery life in hotter climates. AAA recommends that drivers test their car batteries after three years and every year after. According to a recent survey, two-thirds of Americans have never had their car battery tested prior to their vehicle failing to start.
Keeping tires properly inflated and routinely checking tread depth is critical to safety, yet AAA found that 60 percent of Americans do not check tire pressures regularly. Tire pressures, including the spare tire, should be checked at least once a month, and when tread depth reaches 4/32 inches, AAA recommends replacing tires. Additionally, while locking lug nuts are helpful in preventing tire theft, missing keys prevented roadside assistance technicians from changing 21,000 tires in 2014. AAA recommends storing the locking lug nut key with the spare tire or in the glove box.
And while more drivers use keyless entry systems, AAA has not seen a reduction in the number of calls from drivers locked out of their vehicles.
“While problems with batteries, tires and keys are the most common reasons that members call AAA for help, there are more than 12 million calls each year related to engine trouble, fuel issues and other mechanical mishaps,” warned Nielsen. “AAA will always be there to save the day, but this study reveals drivers can save time and money by investing in routine maintenance.”
Read more about this survey from AAA.