If $4 gas hasn’t scared you off on plans for a summer vacation, you may already be getting out the map – or plugging your destination into the navigation computer.
But laying out a good route is only one of the steps you need to take when warm weather approaches, whether you’re planning a cross-country drive or simply expecting to continue your daily commute.
The buds and flowers are only one of the signs that summer is coming up fast. If you’re not prepared, you could personally experience another familiar, if far less enjoyable, sign of warm weather – the cars stuck on the side of the road, fan belts busted or radiators boiling over.
Last year, AAA recorded about 9.3 million service calls during the summer, nearly 500,000 of them just during the Memorial Day holiday.
The numbers are all the more likely to increase as the nation’s automotive fleet continues to age. People are also holding onto the family chariot longer than ever — the average ownership of a new car now a record 64 months, according to industry data, a 14% increase since 2001, while used car ownership has risen to 52 months, also a record high. So, even though today’s vehicles are more reliable than ever, they need to be well-maintained to run properly.