Holiday Travel Tips

September 27, 2013 Updated Nov 22, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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Holiday Travel Tips

September 27, 2013 Updated Nov 22, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW/AAA) - With nearly 40 million Americans hitting the road over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, AAA recommends drivers perform five basic car care tasks to help holiday travelers avoid car trouble and unnecessary delays.

Check Tires

Be sure to check the tire pressure and tread depth on each tire, including the spare, with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. The proper pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on the sticker most often located on the driver’s side door jamb. Check the tread depth at several locations on each tire by placing a quarter upside down in the tread grooves. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, you’re in need of new tires. Look for uneven tire wear; it can indicate alignment, suspension or wheel balance problems that need to be addressed to prevent further damage.

Examine Wiper Blades

Your vehicle’s wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace them if they leave streaks or miss spots. Make sure the windshield washer reservoir is filled with a cleaning solution that will not freeze in cold weather.

Inspect the Battery

Ensure the battery cable connections are tight, and the terminals are free from corrosion. If the battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested to determine how much life it has left. The most common cause of a cold-weather breakdown is a weak or dead battery.

Prepare and Emergency Road Kit

The winter emergency kit should include: Ice scraper and snow brush; Sand, cat litter, or traction mats; a small shovel; gloves, hats and blankets; flashlight with fresh batteries; paper towels; jumper cables; warning flares or triangles; drinking water; non-perishable snacks; extra warm clothes; first-aid kit; basic hand tools; and a mobile phone and car charger with important numbers pre-programmed, including a roadside assistance provider.

Conduct a Vehicle Maintenance Inspection

If it’s almost time for scheduled maintenance, take the opportunity to have your vehicle serviced before a trip. If it has been some time since your vehicle has been serviced, it would be smart to have it thoroughly inspected by a qualified technician who can identify potential problems before they put a damper on holiday travel.

For more information from AAA, visit their website here.