Automotive Maintenance

How to keep your car running smoothly even if summer runs hot

Cityscape heat wave

Summer is road trip season in America: Three-quarters of American families plan to travel by car to a vacation spot this summer.


Add in the extra heat and that means summer is a busy season for AAA, which expects to help 7 million drivers. Most summer road trip breakdowns aren’t inevitable, though, and there’s plenty that motorists can do to reduce their risk of having to call for help.  

AAA’s most common issues in summer

 
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Dead batteries

22%

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Flat tires

14%

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Lockouts

14%

Combined, these three issues accounted for more than 3.6 million calls for Roadside Assistance in summer 2016.


Think of “summer car breakdown” and your mind might jump to the image of steam spilling out from under a hood. While engine overheating is a real concern in hot weather, the majority of the issues AAA sees in summer are the same ones it sees year-round. In the summer of 2016, AAA received 1.6 million calls to jump or replace batteries, 1 million for flat tires, and 1 million for lockouts.

Many drivers don’t do enough to avoid a problem

1 in 5

don't know how to change a tire

2 in 5

don't have an emergency kit in their car

2 in 3

have never tested their battery before it died

3 in 5

don't check their tire pressure at least once a month

What you can do to prepare for summer driving

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Test your battery

Batteries typically last 3-5 years. Once they enter that range, it’s a good idea to assess their health regularly. Learn how AAA can take the hassle out of battery testing and replacement.

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Get a checkup

Scheduled maintenance can uncover potential problems with your car's cooling system and air conditioning before they break down. Not sure where to go for service? Consider a AAA Approved Repair facility.

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Keep a spare key handy

Despite the wide adoption of wireless “smart” keys, AAA hasn't seen a significant reduction in lockout calls. Having a backup key can’t prevent a lockout, but can make it much easier to resolve.

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Check your tires monthly

Underinflated or unevenly worn tires can lead to blowouts, especially in the summer heat. Monitoring tire pressure can help prevent such interruptions. 

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Pack an emergency kit

Every vehicle should have a kit with a phone charger, flashlight, first-aid kit, tire pressure gauge, adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables, emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, and snacks.

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Get the Auto Club App

Whether you’re looking to map a route, find low gas prices, request Roadside Assistance, or find a AAA Approved facility, the Auto Club App makes it simple. Get the Auto Club App.

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