Getting Your Car Ready for Summer Road Trips

Are you ready to hit the road for your summer road trips?

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You’ve waited all year for the summer travel season, and fun times are near! But if you’re car isn’t prepared for longer drives and warmer temperatures, you could risk getting stuck or delayed. That’s why we’re offering tips on how to prepare your car for summer vacation travel and road trips, as well as reminding you of the ways you can use your AAA membership to save money on those preparations.

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Tires Tips for Traveling

Longer road trips can be tough on your tires. Road debris, improper inflation and worn tire tread can all contribute to blowout. Be sure to have your tires inspected for tread depth before you leave for your summer trip. You can use the “penny test” to gauge tire wear, or have your tires inspected at any AAA Approved Auto Repair facility with your AAA membership. To use the “penny test,” simply place a penny with Lincoln’s head upside down into your tire tread. If Lincoln’s entire head is visible above the tread, it’s time to replace your tires. If only the top portion of his head disappears into the tread, you have life left in your tires.

Battery Prep for Trips

Battery troubles can surface in any kind of temperature extreme. As part of your car maintenance checklist, open the hood and see if your battery terminals are coated with a white-, green- or blue-tinged substance before you leave for your summer trip. These tinged substances are common signs of corrosion, a process that can decrease the life of a battery and hinder your car’s performance. If you prefer expert help, remember battery diagnostic services are available at AAA Car Care Centers and at a local AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility.

In the event you do experience a dead battery on your summer road trip, AAA’s Mobile Battery Service is just a click or call away and has competitively priced car battery replacements for most vehicles on our trucks via the AAA Mobile App

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Car’s AC to Stay Cool on the Ride

No one is happy when everyone is hot. Be sure to have your car’s air conditioning system checked before you hit the road on your summer trip. You can visit your nearby AAA Car Care Center or AAA Approved Auto Repair facility for this check, as well as a check of other major vehicle components. The technician will visually inspect hoses, lines and seals connected to your A/C to ensure there are no leaks and that your compressor and temperature readings are normal. Don’t forget, a free vehicle maintenance inspection is offered upon request, a $50 value for members.

Windshield Wipers for Road Safety & Visibility

Storms are a common occurrence of the summer travel season. When bad weather hits, worn or cracked wiper blades can prevent you from seeing clearly through the windshield, increasing eye strain, driver fatigue and the possibility of an accident. Even if your wiper blades aren’t streaking or skipping (a sign they should be replaced immediately), have them inspected for cracks, tears and brittleness before you leave for your trip. AAA Members save 10% and earn reward points on most auto parts and accessories at NAPA

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Car Emergency Kits

Snacks, medicines and basic bandages may be important components of emergency kits for humans, but what about your car? Be sure to bring along a few repair necessities when you hit the road on your summer trip.

Tools such as wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers can be used to make small repairs, but in the age of digital vehicle technologies, you might also want to invest in a Bluetooth code reader that connects to your phone to help diagnose any error messages that pop up.

Jumper cables, a small air compressor and canned tire inflator are other essentials you’ll want to have on hand. In the event of a roadside emergency such as lockout, being stranded or needing a jump start or tow, rest assured that AAA Roadside Assistance will be there for you as a member. 

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Best Gas Prices

If there’s one thing you’ll need for a summer road trip, it’s gas. To lessen your burden at the pump, AAA has partnered with Shell to offer members valuable savings on gas. Through the Fuel Rewards® Program, you can save 5 cents per gallon on the gas you put in your tank every time you fill up. It only takes a few minutes to sign up. Or, to find the lowest price of gas near you, use the AAA Fuel Price Finder. This helpful resource finds the lowest gas prices at more than 100,000 stations across the U.S. Plus, the tool allows you to estimate the total cost of fuel for your trip – a perk for any traveler!

AAA Roadside Assistance Near You and Everywhere You Go

AAA Roadside Assistance gives AAA Members like you the ability to request assistance everywhere you go. From towing, winching and jump starts, to flat tire changes, fuel delivery and locksmith services, our fleet of more than 63,000 towing and roadside service trucks are designed to get you back on the road quickly, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

You can request service online, through the AAA Mobile app (downloadable from the App Store or Google Play), or by calling 1-800-222-4357. And in the wake of Apple’s newest release, they’ve revealed a new feature with AAA for Roadside Assistance via satellite – a lifesaving service designed for iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 users who find themselves stranded in areas with no cell coverage or Wi-Fi. This innovative feature combines the power of Apple's Emergency SOS via satellite technology with AAA's commitment to safety.

Finally, before you embark on your family road trip, take advantage of AAA’s online map gallery. Maps can be downloaded or printed, and they give you some of the best routes and insider tips for seeing key summertime destinations, such as national parks and metro areas. And as always, don’t forget to make the most of the AAA Mobile app for a safe drive and highly rated amenities. 

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