ST. LOUIS, MO. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas AAA Emergency Roadside Service crews experienced a record-breaking month as they responded to more than 7,000 stranded drivers in July.
“A perfect mixture of extreme heat, increased traffic, and older vehicles remaining on the roads made July one of the busiest months on record for breakdowns,” said AAA Missouri Vice President of Automotive Services Ray Posey. “While AAA is always ready to respond to roadside emergencies, a professional and thorough vehicle inspection can help reduce the chances of facing a serious breakdown on the side of the road.”
Arkansans should keep an emergency kit in their car with water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools and a first aid kit, according to AAA.
Along with an emergency kit, drivers should take their vehicle to regular maintenance checks.
AAA Summer Maintenance Tips
With the high heat and car vibrations, it is helpful to ensure your battery is secured.
- Make sure your battery is securely mounted to minimize vibration.
- Clean any corrosive buildup from battery terminals and cable clamps, as heat can cause faster evaporation of battery fluid, which leads to corrosion.
- Ensure clamps are tight enough that they will not move.
- If a battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last.
- Park in the shade whenever possible, turn off lights, wipers, and unplug phone chargers and USB cables to prevent the unnecessary drain on the battery.
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.
- CAUTION! – Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot – boiling coolant under pressure could cause serious burns.
- 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.
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.
- Check tire pressure often as tires lose pressure naturally (typically 1–3 psi per month) because a tire’s sidewall is permeable.
- Low tire pressure results in poor handling and braking, reduced gas mileage and excessive wear. So be sure to check your car’s tire pressure at least once a month—especially before a long trip.
- Check the tread depth. A tire’s ability to stop within a safe distance becomes compromised when its tread depth reaches 4/32 inches. An easy way to determine if a tire is worn out is to place an upside-down quarter (not a penny) in a tire tread. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, it’s time to replace the tire.
- Know the tire’s age. As the tire ages, its rubber becomes hard and brittle, losing elasticity and strength. Therefore, the older a tire, the higher the risk for failure. 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’s six years old or older.
- For more tire safety tips, drivers can visit here.