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Courtesy of AAA of Western and Central New York
Courtesy of AAA of Western and Central New York

AAA sees new roadside trends amid pandemic & heat wave


Mon, Jul 13th 2020 12:05 pm

AAA AAR program proves helpful for auto maintenance amid pandemic

By AAA of Western and Central New York

AAA’s Summer Travel Forecast reveals 97% of all summer travel will be road trips. These trips will likely be taken in personal vehicles that have been sitting idle for months and are now hitting the open road for many miles.

Rescuing members at the roadside is second nature to AAA. In 2019, AAA responded to 32 million calls for help. During the summer of 2019, AAA responded to 293,085 calls in New York – including 137,322 tows, 49,572 flat tires, 36,382 jump starts and 27,457 battery replacements.

So far this summer, AAA Western and Central New York is seeing these trends:

√ Higher number of battery calls amid extreme heat (heat kills weak batteries that have been sitting idle and aging batteries – after three years, batteries should be tested annually – AAA can conduct free battery testing right in driveways in most areas: www.AAA.com/Battery).

√ Cooling/overheating issues are on the rise due to hot weather, requiring tows.

√ RV and motorcycle calls are both up – warm weather encourages bikers to hit the road while social distancing has led to more RV usage.

√ Additional lockout calls as motorists leave cars running with A/C on and end up getting locked out.

All of these issues should be considered as part of regular vehicle maintenance and before heading out on a road trip. The last thing you want to encounter is a roadside emergency. If a breakdown occurs, motorists can request road service via the free AAA mobile app or AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-222-HELP.

Preparing your car for long summer road trips is very important, and this is when AAA’s Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program can help. It helps consumers find shops that are committed to offering fair pricing and outstanding service.

AAA Advice and Approved Auto Repair (AAR):

√ AAA advises drivers to keep summer travel on track by having a vehicle’s battery, engine and tires checked before embarking on a long trip. This can be done by visiting one of our 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.

√ AAR facilities have undergone rigorous inspections conducted by AAA repair experts to meet specific criteria for certifications, technical training, shop cleanliness and customer service.

√ AAA members receive added benefits such as discounts, extended warranties and free transportation should your car have to spend the night.

√ AAA makes it easy to find the nearest Approved Auto Repair facility with its online shop locator – just enter your ZIP code and the site will list shops near you that have earned AAA’s seal of approval for training, dependability and customer service.

Visiting a Repair Facility in a Pandemic:

AAA has developed best practices for its Approved Auto Repair facilities to keep its staff and customers safe during the pandemic. When visiting any repair facility, customers should expect the following:

√ Increased cleaning procedures for the facility including disinfecting high-touch surfaces every few hours and thorough sanitization of the entire facility daily.

√ Use of a seat cover, floor mat, steering wheel cover and bag over gearshift by the technician when handling a customer’s vehicle.

√ Customers are encouraged to make appointments in advance via phone, text, online or email.

√ Contactless drop-off and pick-up vehicle procedures to limit interaction including reducing the number of seats in customer waiting areas and removing communal beverage centers (coffee, water, etc.).

√ Ability to take secure payments over the phone or via touchless options such as Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, Venmo, etc.

√ Posted handwashing procedures throughout the facility, advising staff to wash hands between every customer interaction and every time they enter or exit a vehicle.

AAA Summer Car Care Advice:

√ Don’t leave pets and children in hot vehicles, an open window does not help. Temperatures inside a car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes

√ Check your vehicle’s battery, engine and tires checked before embarking on a long trip.

√ A proper cooling system maintenance is vital to keep the engine cool as engines work extra hard in the summer.

√ Under-inflated tires affect the handling and braking of a vehicle and can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout.

√ Check your car’s fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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