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CAR TIPS: On summer's biggest travel weekend, 370K drivers will need help - don't be one of them

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 18:45:03-04

Rotten tires, leaking fluids, worn out brakes - when it comes to cars, David Wilhm's Crossroads auto shop, KC Brake and Auto Service, has seen it all.

"Nobody wants to get stuck out in the middle of a highway with a car that overheats because their coolant level is low or they have a small leak in it," said Wilhm.

That's why he urges drivers to take a peek under the hoods of their cars before heading out for a summer road trip. 

"If you are going on a really long trip -- several thousand miles -- you should definitely make sure you have gotten an oil change," he said. "Have your A/C checked. Have your tires and brakes checked for air pressure and tread depth."

If you don't, car problems could throw a wrench into your travel plans, and you could end up being one of the 370,000 drivers AAA estimates will need road side assistance this weekend alone.

"Your personal safety is worth a fortune," said Mike Right with AAA. "Regardless of how much it might cost you to have your vehicle checked out, if you are going on a trip of some duration, it's a very wise investment."

But all that will cost you, unless you have roadside assistance like AAA. The AAA base membership runs about $60 a year. And many auto insurance plans include roadside help should you need it.

"Any breakdown is at least an inconvenience and at most it could be life-threatening," said Right. "It is unsafe to be at the side of the road for any reason."

Especially because more drivers will be on the road this holiday weekend than any other Fourth of July in the past decade. One reason for that is low gas prices.

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Terra Hall can be reached at terra.hall@kshb.com.

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