TOWSON, MD (Thursday, April 8, 2021) –– After a year of anticipation, it’s clear that many Marylanders are ready to hit the road. Baltimore-area automotive technicians at AAA’s Car Care Insurance and Travel Centers have been busy with vehicles that haven’t been driven as much due to pandemic restrictions. Now with the spring and summer travel seasons upon us, April Car Care Month is the perfect time to make sure your vehicle is truly road-ready.
“As a result of the pandemic, and the stay-at-home orders, we have seen an increase in battery issues as people stayed off the roads,” said Chris Storms, District Director for AAA Car Care. “If the car has not been driven for many months, an oil change and fluid check may be a good precaution before a long road trip.”
During the summer of 2020 (June 20 – September 22), AAA came to the rescue of more than 150,300 Maryland motorists in the height of the pandemic. This year, AAA is preparing to rescue even more members as pent-up travel demand and an increase in vaccine distribution spurs on travel.
AAA Automotive experts say the top three types of vehicle issues that could derail a road trip are:
- Battery-related issues, including faulty starters or alternators. A battery on the brink of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but having a simple battery test will. Through its mobile battery program, AAA offers its members free testing of a vehicle’s battery and electrical system.
- Engine cooling system failures, such as the radiator, thermostat or water pump or engine parts such as the timing belt, most prominently in vehicles age 10 years and older. Much like a battery, the components of the engine cooling system may fail without warning. Drivers should look for fluids such as coolant pooling underneath the vehicle when it is parked, as an indication of an impending problem.
- Tire damage severe enough to require repair or replacement. Drivers can minimize this risk by checking tread depth, tire pressure and whether their vehicle is equipped with a spare tire.
“Having your vehicle serviced by professionals who are trained to identify potential problems will help prevent breakdowns and often saves money on repairs,”Storms said. “The best way to keep a car in top shape is to have a trusted repair shop where you can go when it’s time for service.”
A key factor to making sure that the long awaited summer road trip is less stressful is to ensure the family vehicle is properly maintained. AAA understands that choosing a repair shop is a personal decision and when asked what was most important, consumers overwhelmingly choose the3 C’s.
- CONFIDENCEranked at the top of the list with89%of consumers sayinghaving a trusted relationshipis important when choosing a repair shop for routine car maintenance.
- COSTis the second most important factor when deciding where to take their car for service, important to83%of consumers.
- Consumers also rankCONVENIENCEhigh on the list withshop hours (78%),located near home (78%)andability to schedule appointments (77%)all tying for thethird most important factor.
A professional and thorough vehicle inspection can help reduce the chance of a serious breakdown. If a car does end up at a repair shop, not only will a road trip be interrupted, drivers can expect to spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to get back on the road.
Take the guesswork out of finding a trusted repair facility by trusting a local AAA Car Care Center or AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities. These shops must adhere to a stringent set of standards for certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, and customer service set forth by AAA.