AAA suggests a car checkup before you go on vacation

DES MOINES — The warm weather is here, the kids are out of school, and Iowans are making plans for extended family vacations. Before backing the packed SUV out of the garage though, AAA’s Nick Chabarria suggests you have a professional look over a few key things.

“B-E-T. That stands for battery, engine, and tires. Those are really the three components you want to make sure you have somebody check out before you hit the road,” Chabarria says. Car batteries, for example, won’t usually last longer than five years. Chabarria says something important that Iowans can easily check themselves is the inflation rate on their tires.

“The proper inflation is going to help make sure you’re getting the most fuel economy from your vehicle as well, so save some money when you’re taking a road trip,” he says. The number of cars broken down along the roadside rises this time of year, Chabarria says, in large part because of a problem with the battery, the engine or the tires.

“Those three components are really the main reasons that people will call us when they fail when they’re out on their road trips,” Chabarria says. “If you can take care of them ahead of time, that’s of course going to save you a lot of time and headaches down the road.” You’ll also need plenty of gasoline. AAA says the average in Iowa is now $3.37 a gallon, that’s down two-pennies in the past week. The national average is 20 cents higher at $3.57.