LOUISVILLE, Ky. — AAA estimates that nearly 102 million people will drive to their holiday destinations this Christmas.
If you’ll be behind the wheel, car experts say there are a few things you should get checked before you take off.
George Kok has been in the automotive industry for almost 60 years. Safe travel for drivers is always on his Christmas list. “If people can avoid dealing with major car repairs this time of the year, they generally will do it so that they can provide Christmas gifts for their friends and their family and their loved ones,” said Kok.
Kok says when it comes to car maintenance, sooner is better. “Trying to drive a car or attempting to drive a car that’s got a mechanical defect almost always results in increasing the cost of the repair, and ultimately you’re going to have to have it fixed,” said Kok.
Worn-out tires are the most neglected issue at the Mr. Transmission service shop Kok owns. He says tire pressure affects the life expectancy of tires, fuel economy and the ability to control a car in emergency situations.
“Driving on tires that have that are worn out, that tread depth is too low presents a real serious problem, particularly in the rain and in the snow. You won’t be able to go anywhere if it snows and we’re looking at possibly some icy weather this coming Friday,” explained Kok.
He encourages drivers to have a professional check their car’s cooling system, air filters and battery before hitting the road. “Cold starting a car is much more difficult on a battery than starting a car in warm weather, and modern automobiles today are just completely battery dependent,” Kok said. Any of those issues could lead to a roadside breakdown.
“If your vehicle has stopped running and you can’t make it to an exit or a rest area and you have to pull off on the shoulder of the road, that’s a very dangerous situation to be in,” said Kok.
Kok says a quick trip to a service shop can help prevent that and help drivers make it home for holidays safely.
With a total of 112.7 million travelers, AAA predicts this year to be the busiest year for holiday travel since it began tracking in 2000.