COLUMBUS – Even during this unprecedented time, Ohioans rely on their vehicles to get them to and from work at essential businesses or simply to the grocery store.

AAA is offering Ohio drivers assistance and advice to ensure vehicles remain healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free roadside assistance for healthcare workers and first responders: Emergency roadside assistance is an essential business under Gov. Mike DeWine’s Stay at Home Order. This enables AAA to continue offering 24-7 emergency road service to all members. To help those on the front line of the virus, AAA is also now providing free emergency road service for healthcare workers and first responders.

AAA is committed to engaging in practices that prevent the spread of the virus and support the health and wellness of our employees, service providers and members. This includes maintaining six feet of distance between the service technician and the motorist receiving assistance. AAA aims to get motorists on the go without needing a tow. Should a tow be necessary, AAA will work with the motorist to help arrange alternative transportation. The AAA technician will remain with the motorist until transportation arrives.

Protecting vehicles at home: As many Ohioans work from home, their vehicles are sitting for extended periods of time. This can lead to dead batteries, flat spots on tires and other issues. AAA recommends drivers take the following steps to ensure their vehicle will run properly when they need it.

• Battery: While battery life depends on the age of the battery, allowing a vehicle to sit too long without driving it can drain the vehicle battery. Drivers can use battery tender to keep the battery at a full state of charge or simply take the vehicle out for a short drive (10-15 minutes) every now and then. In addition, drivers should make sure the battery terminals are clean, tight and free of corrosion.

• Tires: For those not planning on driving their vehicle for several weeks, adding an additional 10 psi of pressure to each tire can help prevent flat spots from forming on the tires. Flat spots occur when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid due to sitting in one position for an extended period. Those still planning on driving their vehicle for essential trips can prevent flat spots by simply moving the vehicle periodically.

• Fluids: If the vehicle is due for an oil change, drivers should have it done to remove any acids and contaminants. Make sure to also consider brake fluid and coolant changes if the vehicle is due for these as well. Deteriorated fluids can lead to rust or corrosion as vehicles sit for long periods of time.

The governor's Stay at Home Order also deems auto repair an essential business, so many auto repair shops are still open during this time to assist motorists. To find a AAA Approved Auto Repair Shop, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair. Be sure to call any repair shop ahead of time to ensure they are open.

For additional information on AAA products and services offered at this time, visit AAA.com/CoronaVirus.

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