AAA expects to help 135K broken down motorists during summer travel season

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PHOENIX -- Memorial Day kicks off the summer, including the summer travel season.  In fact, many will head out of town this weekend.  But before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is ready for your trip. 

AAA of estimates it will receive as many as 135,000 calls for roadside assistance across Arizona.  Last year some 131,000 drivers called for help.  So the organization released a list of the top calls it fielded and offers tips on how motorists can avoid these issues.

1.  Battery
Arizona’s soaring summer temperatures shorten the lifespan of an auto battery.  On averages they’ll last in Arizona 24 to 30 months. Last summer, AAA responded to more than 36,000 battery-related calls in Arizona.
*Check your battery routinely. When taking your vehicle in for routine service, ask your vehicle technician to clean corrosion from your battery terminals, case, brackets and tray.
*Maintain your battery. Replace loose cables and brackets, as well as a worn or damaged alternator drive, which can diminish your vehicle’s ability to recharge the battery.
*Buy smart. Batteries are best installed within the first six months of their manufacture. Before purchasing, look for the battery’s “birthday” code stamped into the top or side of its case.

2.  Tires
When a tire fails, it is typically the result of under inflation, which causes the tire to wear faster, adversely affecting its handling. Last summer, AAA responded to more than 19,000 tire-related calls across the state.
*Check tire pressure for all four tires, as well as your spare, monthly when the tires are cool. Tires should be inflated to manufacturer’s recommendation, which can be found in your owner’s manual or inside the driver side door jamb.
*Check tread. Worn tires are much more likely to suffer punctures and other issues. Further, a tire’s tread is imperative to the tire providing the vehicle with adequate traction.
*Don’t rely on pressure monitoring systems. These systems are typically designed to warn motorists once tires are 25 percent underinflated, which may be too late to prevent damage caused by under inflation.

3.  Lockout
During a hectic summer vacation, it can be easy to forget the car keys in the ignition or in the trunk.  When a child or pet is locked inside a vehicle, these incidents turn dangerous. Last summer, AAA Arizona’s Roadside Assistance team answered more than 16,000 calls for help from members locked out of their vehicles.
*Stay focused. Don’t become distracted when getting into or out of your vehicle.
*Create the habit of putting keys in your pocket or purse when loading or unloading your trunk and carry an extra key in your wallet or purse. However, never leave a spare key hidden in or attached to the vehicle. 
*Never leave your vehicle running unattended or with children or pets inside. Many vehicles have automatic locking systems, which allows it to lock when running and the door is shut. If a child or pet is locked inside a vehicle, call 911. Further, when unloading your vehicle, always get your children and pets out of the car first and then worry about luggage.  

4.  Fuel Delivery
Motorists may try to squeeze all they can out of their fuel tank, especially with high gas prices, but it could mean a big headache if you fuel gauge hits red before you can get to a gas station.
*Monitor your fuel gauge, and avoid letting your vehicle drop below a quarter of a tank.
*Be alert when your vehicle’s fuel economy drops. This could be a sign of a necessary repair that needs to be addressed.
*Drive as fuel efficiently as possible by adopting a gentler driving style, avoiding slamming on the gas pedal or brake.