Thornhill, Ontario – With many Canadians taking road trips this summer, CAA South Central Ontario recommends three easy steps to ensure that vehicle troubles don’t ruin the holiday.

“Road trips are a fantastic way for families to enjoy an affordable vacation while seeing and experiencing new places,” said Edyta Zdancewicz of CAA South Central Ontario (CAASCO). “However, we strongly advise that all road trippers spend a little time prior to their trips checking and preparing their vehicles. Otherwise, their relaxing, affordable family vacation may turn into exactly the opposite experience.”

The association said that the top three vehicle-related problems reported by drivers last summer were battery failures, lockouts, and cars failing to start. In most cases, these can be easily prevented by the following steps:

Schedule a battery test. Batteries can fail all year long, particularly in July and August when air conditioning places additional stress on the battery. CAA recommends scheduling battery tests at the start of the summer and the start of the winter. From July 1 to July 31, 2009, CAASCO members in most suburban cities in South Central Ontario can receive a free mobile diagnostic battery test by calling 1-866-740-6421. CAASCO is also now offering the new CAA Green Power Battery, a high-quality battery made with recycled lead and recycled plastic.

Check fluid levels, and examine belts and hoses. Fluids include engine oil, coolant, and fluids for power steering, brakes, and transmission. If any are too low or show signs of leaking, see a mechanic. When the engine is turned off, visually inspect all hoses and belts for signs of swelling, cracking, or blistering.

Pack an extra set of keys. Having spare keys can prevent frustration and needless cost, but be sure you don’t lock them in the car. Put them in something you always take out of the car with you, such as a coat pocket, purse or stroller.

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