Summer is here and a great time to get your vehicle in shape. Road trips, high temperatures and stop-and-go traffic can cause problems you may not see immediately, but which will reveal themselves at some point.

AAA is here to help

The first step is finding a car repair specialist you can trust. While many people find this stressful, AAA does the work for our members. Our Approved Auto Repair network of more than 350 facilities are fully vetted, certified and ready to help.
AAR Mechanic explaining car issues.

Why use an AAR facility? It’s MAGIC:

Member discount – all AAA members save 10% off labor costs at every visit.

Advocacy – AAA will represent you in any dispute that may arise with a repair facility.

Guaranteed work – All work performed by an AAR is guaranteed for 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

Inspections – Each facility in our program undergoes regular, rigorous inspections. We make sure the shop meets our stringent standards for equipment, cleanliness, insurance coverage, customer service, and more.

Certification – Every AAR must have ASE-certified technicians (Automotive Service Excellence) for required service offerings and provide formal training systems to keep their staff up-to-date on new procedures and technologies.

Summer Car Care

AAA’s Car Doctor and some of our top Approved Auto Repair shops offer this advice for summer maintenance:

Here are a few car care tips we give all our customers:

 

  1. Check your fluids. Engine oil, coolant, steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid should all be checked and filled by a skilled technician. If you spot a leak, tell the mechanic what color the fluid is - this will help determine where the leak is coming from and can speed up the repair process.
  2. Rainproof your windshield. You should replace your blades every three months. We advise keeping a spare set in your trunk in case your blades fail while traveling. Use a glass coating water repellant to minimize the work the wipers have to do; in light rain, it makes the wipers almost unnecessary.
  3. Rotate your tires. You can extend the life of your tires with regular rotations. Front and rear tires wear differently so a rotation can extend their life and save you money. Check your owner’s manual for a recommendation on how often to rotate. With the tires off, this is also a great time to inspect the brakes for wear.

 

Automotive Magic, Kenvil, NJ

Most of our customers in the city use their cars more in spring and summer than the rest of the year. We recommend taking care of the following to avoid even the smallest problem that could affect your road trip:

 

  • Lube, oil, and filter change – Have this done by a mechanic and not a quick lube facility. A "quick lube" facility is convenient, but at least once a year go to a full-service garage where a technician with more experience can inspect the car and notice any issues that could turn into bigger problems on the road.
  • Tires – Check the depth and condition of all four tires, as well as the spare. Check the production dates on your tires; most manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are eight years old, no matter what condition they are in. At the same time make sure the jack and lug wrench are in the car, and if your car has locked wheel lug nuts, make sure you have the key.
  • Wiper blades and washer fluid – Good wipers are important for safety, and washer fluid is essential.
  • Belts and hoses – During an oil change, a good mechanic should check all the rubber on the vehicle. Belts can split or crack and you don't want to be stuck on the side of the highway with smoke streaming out of your hood.
  • Air and cabin filters – Air filters help your engine breathe, and the cabin filters help you and your passengers breathe. If you notice an unpleasant odor or airflow has decreased, consider replacing the cabin air filter, usually located behind the glove box.
  • Maintenance schedule – Service intervals are suggested based on elapsed time as well as mileage. If you're driving more now, make sure that you're up to date on your recommended services.
  • Have a good emergency kit – Make sure you have water and snacks, a blanket, flashlight, phone charger, flares, or triangles.
  • Floor mats – Remove rubber mats and put carpet mats back inside.
  • Sunglasses – Make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses in the car to reduce glare in longer daytime hours.
 
54th Street Auto, New York, NY

Summer brings heavy rain and sudden storms, so be ready in case one hits while you’re on the road:

 

  • Lights on with wipers (daytime running lights are not sufficient) .
  • Hydroplaning happens at speeds above 45 MPH. If you see rain puddling on the roadway, reduce your speed.
  • Roads are the slickest during the first 15 minutes of a rainstorm, when the oils are washed to the surface of the road.
  • Avoid hard braking and maintain at least 4 seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Watch out for deep standing water - driving through a deep puddle could cause engine damage or cause the engine to stall.
  • On the highway stay in the middle lane - the passing lane and right lanes tend to collect more water.
  • Keep the defroster on to prevent window fogging.
 

John Paul, AAA's Car Doctor

Top Shops – is one of them yours?

AAA Northeast is proud to have some of the best Approved Auto Repair facilities in the country! The following shops were recently nominated for national “Best in Auto Repair” awards, which recognize high member satisfaction scores, top-level performance, and exceptional service.

This auto repair shop has been operating since 1927, and joined the Approved Auto Repair program in 2019. They received an average satisfaction score of 99.1% from members, solidly putting this family-owned business among the top shops of 2021!

 

Fortier Auto Sales

(Left to right) Justin, Bob and Matt Fortier

A perennial top performer, Guilford Texaco had a satisfaction score of 95% with AAA members. The shop, owned by Jim and Ernie Betulia, has won numerous awards, including being named as a Service Provider of Excellence in 2013 and 2019. A partner in AAA’s repair, ERS and car battery service, Guilford has been a provider for AAA since 1970.

 

Guilford Texaco

Laurie and James Betulia, owners

Received a 100% satisfaction score with 85 surveys, and an RSP completion rate of 95.7%. The shop does repair, ERS and battery service, and has been a part of the Approved Auto Repair program since 2010.

 

Tire Tech employees at store computers.

Left to right: James Bruneau, Madison Murphy, Rob Sherwood

Recommendations Welcome!

Do you have a favorite shop that would be a great AAR in your neighborhood?

Send us their name and address.

AAR Recommended Mechanic

More AAR Information

  • To find an AAR in your neighborhood, use our Facility Finder. Simply enter your zip code to find shops near you.

  • If you have questions about anything automotive related, you can email AAA’s Car Doctor, John Paul. Let him know about your vehicle and he’ll answer your question.
Roadside Assistance Truck