NOTTINGHAM, Md. (WJZ) — More than 47.7 million Americans are expected to travel for the Fourth of July Holiday. At least, 43.6 million are expected to drive including 960,000 Marylanders.

“Over the holiday weekend, AAA expects to rescue nearly 8,500 stranded motorists in Maryland and more than 460,000 nationwide,” said AAA Car Care District Director, Chris Storms. “And while AAA will be at the ready to serve members, no one wants their road trip ruined by a breakdown that could have been avoided.”

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AAA wants to remind drivers to plan their routes in advance and to ensure their vehicle is up for a road trip.

Here are AAA’s Top 5 Vehicle Maintenance Myth Busters:

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  • MYTH: Oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. FACT: Cars that are 15 years or newer typically need oil changes at intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Opting for synthetic oil can extend this even longer.
  • MYTH: Car batteries last for 5 years. FACT: The life of a car battery varies & depends on the type of vehicle, driver habits and climate. A car battery can last anywhere from 3 – 5 years.
  • MYTH: Car warranties are voided when work is done by anyone other than the dealer. FACT: The law prohibits manufacturers or dealers to void a warranty or deny coverage just because someone else did the work.
  • MYTH: Brake fluid doesn’t need to be changed. FACT: Brake fluid should be changed at two- or three-year intervals, especially since it attracts & absorbs water, which can corrode internal brake system parts & lead to failure or other costly damage.
  • MYTH: Tires should be replaced when the tread reaches 2/32.” FACT: AAA research found tire performance in wet weather deteriorates significantly at 4/32” & therefore, recommends consumers buy new tires when they reach this tread depth.

“Dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble this summer,” said Ben Perricone, Territory Manager with AAA Approved Auto Repair. “Also, be sure to check that engine oil, coolant and brake, transmission and power steering fluids are at the manufacturer specified levels.”

Here are AAA recommendations for drivers:

  • Following manufacturer’s schedule – your owner’s manual and often offers variations based on driving habits. Make sure to stick to the one that most closely matches your individual situation.
  • Listening to the experts – while you may be tempted to prolong maintenance to save money, by doing so you could end up with more costly repairs down the road.
  • Having your battery tested – car batteries are a little trickier as they will give little warning when they are about to die. A simple battery test will provide all the information you need to decide if it’s time to replace. Through its mobile battery program, AAA offers its members free testing of a vehicle’s battery and electrical system. The best part is that if you need your battery replaced, AAA can do so right on the spot.
  • Documenting work – consumers can have the recommended maintenance services or repairs performed at any facility of their choice. Simply document the work that is done by someone other than the manufacturer or dealer to maintain the warranty.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is offering a free “Great American Road Trip Vehicle Health Inspection” to ensure cars are road-ready for both members and non-members. This service will be offered at any AAA Care Center through the end of July. The inspection includes: tires, brakes, batteries, exterior lights and fluid level safety checks.

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Appointments can be scheduled at AAA.com/CarCare.

CBS Baltimore Staff