Making the Family Road Trip a Success

    CAA South Central Ontario Recommends Three Easy Steps to Ensure Vehicle
    Troubles Don't Ruin Summer Driving Holidays

    THORNHILL, ON, June 25 /CNW/ - With Canadians cautiously watching their
spending, the family road trip is expected to be the vacation of choice for
many Canadians this summer. As CAA South Central Ontario experienced a 22 per
cent increase in calls during July and August last year due to vehicle-related
problems, it is advising trip planners to follow some basic vehicle
preparation tips to ensure everyone brings home only fond memories of their
2009 summer road trip.
    "Road trips are a fantastic way for families to enjoy an affordable
vacation while seeing and experiencing new places," says Edyta Zdancewicz,
Media and PR Specialist, CAA South Central Ontario. "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."
    According to CAASCO's call centre, which manages calls from its 1.8
million members, the top three vehicle related problems individuals reported
last summer were battery failures, lockouts and cars failing to start. In most
cases, these three trouble areas can easily be prevented if vehicle owners
follow three simple steps.

    Step 1 - Schedule a Battery Test

    Contrary to widespread belief, batteries fail all year long, particularly
in July and August when the air conditioning places an extra stress on the
battery. CAA recommends scheduling two battery tests each year: at the start
of the summer and the start of the winter. Whether you are planning a lengthy,
cross-country tour or a series of short day trips this summer, it is advisable
to get your vehicle's battery tested before setting out.
    From July 1st 2009 to July 31st 2009, CAASCO members in most suburban
cities in South Central Ontario simply have to call 1-866-740-6421 to receive
a free mobile diagnostic battery test. Using a unique diagnostic battery
tester, the technician will provide an accurate, printed report showing the
remaining life in the battery and if a new battery is required can sell and
install one on the spot.
    For drivers wanting to make their road trips as green and carbon-neutral
as possible, CAASCO is now offering the first eco-friendly vehicle battery.
The new CAA Green Power Battery is a high-quality, strong-performing battery
that is made with recycled lead and recycled plastic - and guarantees the
replaced battery will be properly disposed of or recycled safely.

    Step 2 - Check Fluid Levels and Examine Belts and Hoses

    If you want to protect yourself against engine failure checking all fluid
levels, hoses and belts in advance of packing the car is an absolute must.
Fluids that should be checked include; engine oil, power steering, brake
fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant- reservoir level. If any of these
fluids are too low, or show signs of leaking be sure to call a mechanic.
    With hot summer days, it is imperative your vehicle's cooling system is
working properly. When the engine is turned off, visually inspect all hoses
and belts for signs of swelling or cracking. Damaged belts can affect the
operation of the electrical system, power steering and A/C operation. If you
notice cracks, blisters or other signs of wear and tear, arrange for your car
to be seen by a professional technician.

    Step 3 - Pack an Extra Set of Keys

    As simple as it seems, packing an extra set of car keys can prevent a lot
of frustration and needless cost during a road trip. Be sure though, not to
lock the extra keys in the car. Before heading out on the road, place the
extra keys in something that you always take out of the car with you - a coat
pocket, in a purse, or buried in a stroller. If for some reason you lock your
keys in the car, or misplace them, you will quickly and easily be able to
continue on your journey.
    "Many people spend hours planning what to pack but they neglect to invest
any time preparing their vehicle for the journey it has ahead," says
Zdancewicz. "We cannot emphasize enough the importance of following these
three easy steps before embarking on a road trip. It could literally mean the
difference between a wonderful holiday or a disastrous one."

    About CAA South Central Ontario

    For more information about CAA South Central Ontario, visit CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club
offering insurance, travel and roadside services. There are more than 1.8
million CAA members in South Central Ontario and over 5 million members in

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Katherine Clark, Cowan &
Company, (416) 462-8773 ext. 55,

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