Summer Cruising. Unexpected stops ahead?

Thursday, May 27, 2010
By SeattleTool


The following is not a typo. This summer, the American Automobile Association (AAA) expects to rescue 9.3 million motorists.

9.3 million!

While the AAA didn’t offer up any statistics on the number of vacations cut short, we can estimate that... conservatively... at least a million kids are going to miss out on summer fun when the family vehicle stops running.

It’s nearly impossible to visualize that many stranded motorists. And that many crying kids.

All of that metal slumped on the side of the road. All of that tread frying in the heat when it should be rolling down the highway. All of those vacation plans put on hold while the rest of the world whizzes by.

Nearly half a million motorists will be visited by a AAA  service vehicle during the US Memorial Day weekend alone. They’ll change a mind numbing 70,000 flat tires over those three days.

Sure, your commute is perpetually bad. The highways are crowded. But these statistics put into perspective the sheer enormity of the number of cars on the road during a typical North American summer. And they also illustrate the responsibility of car owners to collectively make a habit of looking under the hood once in a while.

Here in Canada, the Victoria Day weekend is in the books and summer has unofficially begun. And while, when it comes to roadside assistance, the numbers are different, the message is the same - maintaining even some of the most basic components of your vehicle will keep you going.

 We understand that Seattle Tool customers already know their way around a vehicle’s engine.

Yet, sometimes even the well greased need to be reminded to step back from the advanced maneuvers to take care of the basics.

AAA cites dirty or clogged air filters, low windshield washer fluid and old blades, tire pressure issues (too low or too high), worn tires, and battery related problems as some of the most prevalent, and preventable, areas that put people on the side of the road... when they should be enjoying the sun in a chair with a drink in one hand and a burger in the other instead of the owner’s manual in one hand and a cell phone in the other.

By simply remembering to replace air filters (can you see any light through there?) and test wiper blades before the next downpour -- being able to see the road is generally considered by experts to be a necessary component of safe driving - you can, in a matter of minutes put the odds in your favor.

Other no brainers that sometimes get lost in the shuffle?

Battery health: The Automobile Association often sees batteries that have been worn down from summer heat and have corrosion build up on terminals.

Tire pressure: premature tire wear results from poorly inflated tires. Drivers should consult the owner’s manual to see what the optimum tire pressure is, rather than inflate the tires to the maximum listed on the sidewall.

And with proper pressure on all four tires, there’s the added incentive of increased gas mileage. With the average family currently spending in the neighborhood of five percent of its income at the pumps, there’s never been a better time to ‘sweat the small stuff'.

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#205-19148 27th Avenue
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Canada V3S 5T1
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