April is Spring Car Care Month

To celebrate, we’re giving AAA members a special offer: Take your vehicle into any Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facility and get a FREE wheels-off brake inspection, suspension system inspection, tire check and (if needed) tire rotation. This is a $125 value, free to AAA members only for the month of April.

Appointments are required. Find your closest AAR here.

Approved Auto Repair

Our AAR program is a great member benefit, and there’s no better place to get your vehicle “road ready” for all the trips you want to take this spring and summer. We take the guesswork out of finding a trusted technician for your vehicle. Fully vetted, inspected annually, and subject to specific certifications and standards, you can trust an AAR facility in your neighborhood.

Learn more and find a shop near you.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Summer is coming — trips to the beach, road trips, vacations, and even work commutes are expected to increase. If you’re like most people, you haven’t driven as much the last year, and your car may need some special “TLC” before resuming normal driving.

A complete bumper-to-bumper check by an AAR facility is the best course of action. According to our top AAR technicians, here are five key things to check before you hit the road:

  • Check air pressure, which changes dramatically based on temperature.
  • Use a tire pressure gauge for accurate results. Use the recommended tire pressure indicated on the placard on the inside driver’s door. (Don’t use the pressure imprinted on the tire itself.)
  • Low tread depth is dangerous; make sure you have more then 4/32” of tread on the sides and at the center of each tire. Insert a quarter upside down (Washington’s head first) into the tread. If the tread does not reach the top of his head, it’s time for new tires.
  • Check the sidewalls for cracks and dry rot (which occurs when oils and other chemicals in the tire dry out and ruin the tire).
  • If your car has been sitting for a while, non-damaging surface rust can appear on brakes. It usually wears off in the first few miles driven.
  • Cars that sit for longer periods (months or more) can develop more extensive issues. Have the rotors, calipers and pads checked before heading out.
  • Steering, suspension, shocks and wheel alignment should also be examined.
  • Engine oil should be changed based on time or mileage. While you may have driven considerably less in the past year, or if your last oil change was more than six months ago, you should get one done. Contaminates, fuel and sludge can get into engine oil, as well as moisture, which leads to oil breakdown. Clean oil extends the life of your vehicle, so don’t skip this important step.
  • The oil change should also be accompanied by a check of other vital fluids — power steering, transmission and brake fluid. Just like engine oil, these fluids can attract moisture and become contaminated.
  • The cabin and engine filters can become clogged with dirt, dust and pollen, especially if sitting for longer periods of time. If your vehicle has been parked outside for a while, they can become especially dirty.
  • Hoses and belts can dry out and crack — better to find this out before you hit the highway on a long drive.
  • Don’t be surprised to find that some critter has taken up residence in your vehicle to avoid the cold. (This is especially true if you keep snacks in your glove compartment!) Rodents and mice build nests in all sorts of areas, and your engine and filters are prime spots. These animals often chew wires and hoses, so check for damage while the hood is up.

Ask the Car Doctor

AAA’s Car Doctor, John Paul, will host two Facebook Live events in April. Join us on AAA Northeast’s Facebook page.

  • Thursday, April 8, 12 p.m. – The Car Doctor is joined by Vic Deluca, Approved Auto Repair manager, to discuss spring car maintenance, exclusive member benefits of the AAR program and answer your questions.
  • Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m. – The Car Doctor finds out everything you need to know about car shopping from Ted Lyons, director of AAA Financial Services: new vs. used, how to make sure you’re getting a good deal, how to finance and other considerations.

Have a question for one of our Facebook Live events, or about a specific issue with your vehicle? Send it to the Car Doctor and he’ll get back to you with a personal response within 48 hours!

If You Break Down

Despite your best efforts, you may have to get roadside assistance at some point. AAA members get 24/7 service, and we now have several ways to get you help fast.

  1. Visit AAA.com/GetMoving
  2. Visit AAA.com and select “Roadside Assistance, Request Online”
  3. Download our mobile app to your phone or other device
  4. Text HELP to 800-222-4357 and we’ll send you a link to request service
  5. Call 800-222-4357 to speak with a member service counselor
Download our guide "What to do when your vehicle breaks down” and keep it in your car.

Roadside Assistance Truck