How to prepare your vehicle for a Thanksgiving road trip, according to AAA


There is some potential trouble at the beginning and end of the holiday travel window, but overall things are looking better for travelers. (Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — AAA expects to rescue about 800 Arkansas motorists on the roadsides throughout the holiday weekend, according to a press release.

AAA advisers offer the following tips to help avoid unexpected issues on the road.

First, they suggest making a BET to stay on the road by checking your vehicle’s battery, engine, and tires before leaving on a trip.

Battery: Automotive batteries typically last between three to five years, with reduced battery life in hotter climates. To avoid an unexpected battery failure, AAA recommends that drivers have their vehicle’s battery tested when it reaches three years of age and on an annual basis thereafter.

Engine: Cooling systems protect engines from overheating and should be flushed periodically, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Between flushes, make sure the coolant is filled to the proper level by checking the overflow reservoir.

If necessary, top off the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of water and the coolant type specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Rubber cooling system components are susceptible to heat-related deterioration, so periodically inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking, soft spots or other signs of poor condition.

Tires: Just as driving on under-inflated tires is dangerous, over-inflated tires can cause uneven wear, reduce vehicle handling and make tires susceptible to road hazard damage, according to AAA.

Low tire pressure results in poor handling and braking, reduced gas mileage and excessive wear. And as a tire ages, its rubber becomes hard and brittle, losing elasticity and strength.

The age of your tire can be found by checking the last four DOT numbers stamped on a tire’s sidewall; for example, 0419 means the tire was manufactured in the fourth week of 2019. AAA recommends replacing any tire that is six years old or older.

AAA also suggests having an emergency kit in your vehicle. They offer this list of items and where to store them:

  • Cell phone and car charger (glove compartment)
  • First-aid kit (glove compartment)
  • Blanket (luggage area)
  • Drinking water/snacks for everyone in the car including pets (some in glove compartment, the rest in the luggage area)
  • Flashlight with extra fresh batteries
  • Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
  • Basic set of tools along with duct tape and car emergency warning devices such as road flares or reflectors (luggage area)
  • Ice scraper/snow brush (if traveling to an area experiencing winter conditions)
  • Jumper cables/jump pack
  • Traction aid such as sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter
  • Tarp, raincoat and gloves

You can check road conditions before your trip here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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