AAA Rescues Over 1,000 Stranded Delaware Motorists Since Monday

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Wilmington – As temperatures climb into the upper 90’s again today, and with forecasted temperatures to remain high through the weekend, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers that the risk of engines overheating, older batteries failing and tire troubles grows with each day of extreme weather.

“The effect this kind of weather can have on your car is cumulative,” says Ken Grant, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “So while a motorist’s vehicle may have survived the first day or two of this heatwave, come today or over the weekend, drivers may unexpectedly encounter breakdowns.”

As of Thursday, AAA Mid-Atlantic has responded to over 1,100 calls from stranded Delaware drivers since Monday, and is on pace to see high call volumes through the remainder of the week. Tows were the primary reason for roadside service, followed by dead batteries, and flat tires.

Monday through Thursday this week:

Battery and tire calls account for 37 percent of all calls
22 percent of total calls have been battery calls
15 percent of total calls have been tire calls
For humans, heat exhaustion can occur at temperatures above 90 degrees. For vehicles, the white-hot temperatures exact a toll. So AAA recommends motorists make sure their vehicles are prepared for the summer months. Here are some common heat-related car problems, and what motorists can do to help prevent them:

Overheating: This is the most common cause of summer breakdowns. Service the cooling system as specified in the vehicle’s factory maintenance schedule. Check the coolant level, condition, and concentration periodically – a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water is recommended. Use the type of coolant recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Never remove a radiator cap until the engine has fully cooled.

Battery Failure: Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies, leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. AAA recommends drivers have their vehicle’s battery tested when it reaches three years of age, and annually thereafter. For routine care, clean any corrosion from the battery posts and cable connections, wash the surfaces with a solution of baking soda and water, and tighten connections as needed. Make sure the battery is securely mounted so it cannot move about. If the battery has removable caps, check the fluid level at each oil change and top up with distilled water as needed. When working on a battery, always wear eye protection and rubber gloves to avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid.

Tire Blowout: Under-inflated tires affect vehicle handling and braking, and can also overheat, increasing the likelihood of a blowout. Check tire pressures once a month when they are cold, before driving any distance. Inspect the tires and make sure they have at least 4/32” of tread remaining for good wet-road traction. Also, look for uneven tread wear and cuts, tears or bulges in the sidewalls that may indicate internal tire damage or the need for wheel alignment. Rotate the tires as recommended, usually at every oil change. Remember to check the spare as well, and make sure the lug wrench and jack are present and in good, working condition.

Air Conditioning Failure: In extreme summer heat, automotive air conditioning is a pleasant convenience that can also increase safety by reducing driver fatigue. If the air conditioning does not cool the car interior as well as it once did, the refrigerant level may be low or there could be another problem. Have the system diagnosed by a trained and certified technician. Many vehicle climate control systems today are equipped with a cabin filter that prevents outside dust, pollen and debris from entering. If present, this filter should be inspected and replaced as needed to ensure maximum airflow and cooling during the summer months.
With more than six weeks left until the unofficial end of summer, on Labor Day weekend, and with more extreme heat likely, AAA Mid-Atlantic will be offering free battery, tire pressure and car maintenance checks to ensure motorists’ vehicles are road ready for the remainder of summer. The free Summer Car Care event, open to the public, will be held at all AAA Car Care Centers throughout the AAA’s Mid-Atlantic region on Saturday, July 29 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

While advanced appointments are preferred, walk-ins will be accepted based on availability. For more information, drivers may call 1(866) AAA-AUTO or visit AAA.com/Events.

AAA Car Care Insurance & Travel Center Locations in Delaware

AAA Dover Car Care Insurance and Travel Center
124 Greentree Drive
Dover, DE 19904

As the summer travel season continues, AAA Mid-Atlantic also reminds motorists to make sure there vehicle is stocked with an emergency road kit.

“There is one item that two out of five drivers forget: carrying an emergency kit in the vehicle. It makes a lot of sense, but a AAA survey showed that more than 40 percent of motorists do not have one at their disposal,” said Grant. “For safety’s sake, every driver should have a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a cell phone and car charger; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.”

Source:AAA Mid-Atlantic

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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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