July 15, 2003

BCAA offers tips to avoid vehicle breakdowns

Burnaby, B.C. – BCAA’s Road Assist Service reports that call volumes during July and
August are equal to the volumes experienced during the winter. BCAA receives approximately 65,000 emergency roadside calls per month during its peak seasons. Most summer calls are related to overheated engines or battery problems.

“Many people don’t realize that it’s just as common to have problems with your vehicle in the summer as it is in the winter, and that’s why many people aren’t prepared for the stress summer’s heat can put on a car’s engine,” says Ken Cousin, Manager, BCAA’s Contact Centre Operations. “Many of the emergency calls that come to BCAA in the summer can be avoided with a spring or summer mechanical inspection and a safety check before heading out on a long drive.
This is especially true with recreational vehicles that may have been sitting for long periods.”

To help drivers ensure their cars are properly prepared and equipped for summer driving, BCAA offers the following maintenance tips:

  • Invest in a summer tune-up – check tires, top up fluid levels, and
    make sure cooling fans and hoses are in good working order. Don’t
    wait until it’s really hot to find out your vehicle’s cooling system
    is not up to the task.

  • Maintaining good visibility is as important in the summer months as
    it is in the wet, snowy, winter months. Check the condition of lights
    and wiper blades, and make sure you have plenty of washer fluid. Dry
    weather attracts dust and bugs to your windshield which you’ll need
    to clean regularly. Also check for fresh chips in the windshield that
    could easily get worse while driving long distances.

  • Remove roof racks when not in use. Unnecessary additions to a vehicle
    can change its centre of gravity, making it top-heavy and easier to
    roll. They can also reduce the vehicle’s fuel economy and increase
    the risk of overheating.

  • If you require assistance, pull off the road and switch on your
    vehicle’s four-way flashers. Get out of your vehicle if it has broken
    down in an unsafe location. This will avoid a potentially dangerous
    situation. If you have emergency roadside assistance, try and assess
    your vehicle’s operating problem before calling your provider.

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