4 Most Common Roadside Emergencies and How to Avoid Them
While cars are much more complicated than they were just a few years ago, they also are more reliable. Even so, AAA Emergency Road Service trucks keep busy answering calls from stranded motorists. Here are the most common reasons for Emergency Road Service calls, and how you can avoid them:
Road hazards can destroy even a new tire, but old-time tire maintenance still is valuable. In addition to eyeballing side-wall bulge, regularly inspect each tire for proper inflation using a gauge. Don’t forget the spare; tires can lose air just sitting there. Always check the car owner’s manual or glove box sticker to confirm the best pressure for your vehicle’s tires. Tire air pressure should always be measured while the tire is cold. Check the tires for cuts and bulges. Rotating tires can even out the wear among all four; follow the rotation pattern and schedule suggested in the manual. Always replace tires with excessive tread wear.
Empty Fuel Tank
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist: When out on long, empty stretches of road, heed those road signs warning “Next fuel 89 miles.” Even when close to home, pay attention to that fuel gauge, and make the occasional visit to a filling station.
Get into the habit of locking your car door with the key. This ensures you have it with you when the car is locked up. Carry a spare key in your wallet or purse instead of a jacket pocket, as they’re often left in cars. Never hide it in a wheel well or beneath the floorboards -- give those thieves a little credit. Write down the key code number and keep it handy. A locksmith may be able to make a new key using the number. It can sometimes be found in the glove box, in the owner’s manual, or on a metal tag accompanying the key. You can ask the dealer, too.
Modern batteries require little maintenance, but over time they eventually become too weak to start the car. They also can be affected by extremes of cold and heat.
“Low maintenance” batteries occasionally may need to be topped off with distilled water, while “maintenance free” batteries have sealed covers instead of filler caps. Regardless of type, check regularly for loose, dirty, or corroded terminals and cables. Use a commercial cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and water with a wire brush to clean corroded terminals.
Since batteries pack less of a punch with age, be aware of the length of your battery’s guarantee. Five years is a common rule of thumb. While the battery may last past that, it may not perform as efficiently. Replacement as the expected age limit arrives can be helpful in preventive maintenance.
Get a free instant battery quote at AAA.com/Battery.