AAA has resources for all of your automotive needs. From advice on how to care for your car to making a service appointment to have AAA repair your vehicle, the information you need is right at your fingertips! To begin your search go to "Find Us, Auto Repair" and you're on your way.
For more information about AAA's automotive services, call our toll free customer support number at 1-800-922-8228 Monday through Friday from 7 am to 9 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am to 7 pm PDT.
There are several ways you can do this:
|•||Contact the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, or call their DOT Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.|
|•||Contact the dealer or manufacturer of your car.|
When you call any of these places, be sure to have the year, make, model and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your car available.
Not all AAA offices offer DMV services. Those offices that do, can help with:
|DMV Services Available at AAA||CA||NV||UT|
|Copies of Driver History Records||X|
|Driver’s License Renewal*||X|
|Duplicate Driver’s License*||X|
|Duplicate Identification Card||X|
|Duplicate Instruction Permit||X|
|Order Duplicate Registration/Title/Sticker||X|
|Order Replacement License Plates or Request Personalized License Plates||X|
|Pay Insurance Reinstatement Fees||X|
|Vehicle Registration Renewal 1||X||X||X|
|Cash and Check 2||X|
|Credit Card and Debit Card Accepted||X||X|
Locate the AAA branch nearest you offering DMV services. Most AAA branches offer select DMV services. If you live in the Bay Area, you can also visit any of our five convenient AAA Express locations inside Lucky grocery stores. Get your groceries and renew your vehicle registration all in one place.
For the fastest service, please bring your valid driver’s license, AAA Membership card, and completed DMV forms for the task you wish to perform.
To download forms, and for more services, visit your state’s DMV website:
*To renew a noncommercial driver's license, the license cannot be suspended, revoked, or expired. The photo must have been taken within the past four years. If the customer needs to change their address or any vital information including their name, then a visit to the local DMV is in order.
1. Certain restrictions apply depending on where your car was purchased. Please call your local AAA branch for more information. AAA branches in Nevada provide DMV services via DMV kiosks. Registration up to 18 months late may be processed on the kiosks. Late fees will be calculated and added to the registration fees.
2. When paying by check in California, checks should be made payable to the “California Department of Motor Vehicles”. Your name should appear on the AAA Membership card, driver license/DMV ID card and California vehicle title/registration.
Please contact DMV for these services:
|•||CA Drivers License Transactions and Printouts|
|•||Vehicles/Vessels Origination from a Dealer|
|•||Out of State Registration Renewals/Transfers|
|•||Vehicles/Vessels with Unavailable Records|
|•||Off Highway Registration Renewals/Transfers|
|•||Disabled Parking Placards|
Contact the DMV directly:
|*||DMV Self-Service 1-800-777-0133|
|*||To Pay by Credit Card: 1-800-921-1117|
When the "Check Engine" light comes on, your car is telling you to have the computer system checked out at the earliest possible opportunity. Unlike, for example, an oil pressure light that means "STOP NOW!", a "Check Engine" light means that your car's computer system has recognized a fault in one of its circuits.
If an open or shorted condition in a circuit is indicated, the "Check Engine" light will come on and a trouble code will be stored in the computer's memory. The trouble code indicates which circuit is affected. The technician working on the car can then retrieve the trouble code and determine the exact problem.
Trouble codes can result from a mechanical problem that "fools" a sensor as well as a true electrical fault, so be sure to get a thorough diagnosis done on the problem.
There's a great deal of debate over this. People who regularly use synthetic oils swear by synthetic oils, and people who regularly use conventional oils swear by conventional oils. For most driving conditions, your engine will be properly protected by conventional oil.
However, if your vehicle is subject to extreme conditions, such as sustained high speeds, high loads, extremely dusty conditions, racing, towing, or use of a turbocharger, conventional oil may not adequately protect your engine. The key is to change your oil at the proper intervals.
Synthetic oils claim to allow a longer interval between changes. This claim is countered by those who point out that regardless of the condition of the oil, contamination from outside sources such as blow-by and moisture cannot be removed by filtering, and regardless of the lubricating properties of the oil, when contamination reaches unacceptable conditions, the oil and filter should be changed.
The main attractions of synthetic oil are its improved lubricating properties and extended oil change intervals. The trade-off is cost. Synthetic oils can cost as much as four to five times more than conventional oils. This cost increase can cancel out the savings you gain by increased change intervals.
Another factor to consider is overall maintenance. If you're going to a repair facility for your conventional oil changes every 3,000 miles, this means that a trained technician is regularly inspecting your car for potential problems. Your mechanic will check things like fluid levels, belts, hoses, tire wear patterns, under-car oil or transmission fluid leaks and other items that can help prevent breakdowns or expensive repairs. For example, replacing a weak coolant hose can prevent having that hose burst in traffic, with resultant overheating and engine damage. This type of preventive maintenance can greatly extend the life of your car. If you use a synthetic oil and only change it every 10,000 miles or more, then you're not getting your car inspected by that mechanic anywhere near as frequently, and problems may be more likely to develop between inspections.
If you're doing your own oil changes, you need to be aware of these types of inspections and perform them yourself. If you do these inspections regularly every 3,000 miles, you can possibly extend your oil change intervals by using synthetic oil; however, don't forget about problems such as moisture and blow-by contamination.
Synthetic oils do lubricate better. However, given the high quality of today's conventional oils, the high cost of synthetic oils, and the other factors involved in determining oil change intervals (and therefore cost-per-mile), there may not be an advantage in using synthetic oils for normal operation. If you're putting a lot of stress on your oil, you might consider a change to synthetic oil and staying with a short change interval. This provides the protection of synthetic oil, although your costs will increase. Those costs should be balanced against the possible cost of premature engine repairs due to excessive wear from harsh operating conditions.
There's no easy answer to the question of conventional versus synthetic oils. The answer depends on your driving, your maintenance, and your personal preferences. Generally, if your vehicle is subject to extreme conditions, synthetic oils may well be worth considering.
There's always something you can do to save on gas. Here are some tips:
Improve Your Mileage
|•||Plan your driving routes so that you can travel at constant speeds. Try to avoid rush hours; travel when traffic is light.|
|•||Newer cars start differently than older ones. If you have to start a newer car by pumping the accelerator pedal, something is wrong. Have it checked.|
|•||Don't warm up your engine with extended idling. Instead, accelerate gently and try to avoid highway driving for the first mile or so.|
|•||Don’t let your car idle for more than a minute. Idling consumes a half-gallon to a gallon of gas per hour, and wastes more gas than restarting the engine.|
|•||Don’t rev the engine and quickly turn off the ignition (an old, but unwise, practice). This wastes fuel and dumps raw gasoline on the cylinder walls, where it can wash away a protective oil film, increasing engine wear.|
|•||Brake gradually. The more you can anticipate traffic conditions, the more you can reduce your need to brake.|
|•||Build up speed early when you approach a hill. If your car has a manual transmission, shift to a lower gear when the accelerator pedal is three-quarters of the way to the floor.|
|•||Use air conditioning sparingly.|
|•||Don’t fill your gas tank completely when the weather is hot. Fuel expansion can cause the tank to overflow.|
Consider Your Options
When buying a new car, it’s always wise to consider fuel economy:
|•||An automatic transmission generally uses more gas than a manual transmission.|
|•||Radial tires reduce rolling resistance, usually at a fuel savings of five to 10 percent.|
|•||Cruise control may save you gas if you drive a lot on the open road.|
|•||Tune Up Your Car|
An out-of-tune car can use three to eight percent more fuel. Service your car’s engine at least once a year, and keep the following points in mind:
|•||Spark plugs must be in good condition.|
|•||The ignition timing should be properly adjusted.|
|•||Have the engine’s idling speed set to specification.|
|•||The automatic choke should not stick—this wastes gas.|
|•||Your carburetor's air-fuel mixture should be properly adjusted.|
|•||Check the air filter twice a year.|
|•||Inflate tires to the pressures recommended by the manufacturer.|
|•||If you like, our Auto Diagnostic Clinics can check many of the above items for you. This way, you'll take the guesswork out of getting your car into top shape.|
Signing up for AAA Auto Insurance is easy. Just fill out our Insurance Quote Request Form, and one of our AAA Insurance Representatives will contact you.
While laws vary from state to state, there is only limited protection for used car purchases. All in all, it's easier to prevent a problem prior to purchase than it is to solve one afterwards. If you do have trouble after the sale and you can't resolve it yourself, contact your state's consumer protection agency for help. Here are some useful tips to consider:
Inspect before you buy: Always have a vehicle inspected by a mechanic of your choice prior to purchase. Never buy a used car unless you have the vehicle checked out by a certified mechanic first. If you don't and you have a problem after the sale, a judge may look at your transaction and say, "Why didn't you check the car out before you bought it?" (For help in finding a reputable mechanic, you can look into our AAA-Approved Auto Repair, or check out our Vehicle Inspsection & Smog Services.)
Safety issues take priority: If you bought a car from a used car dealer and have legitimate safety problems with the vehicle, the state may be able to help. It is illegal for an auto dealer to sell—or offer to sell—a vehicle with unsafe tires, damaged glass, non-working lights, or brakes that will not stop the car in 25 feet from a speed of 20 miles per hour. The vehicle must also pass a smog test at the time of sale.
If any of these problems are present at the time of sale, you may be able to force the dealer to make repairs. Be advised, if the dealer has any responsibility, it's usually to repair the problem, not to replace the car. Some dealerships may be willing to trade the vehicle for a different one from their stock. However, this is strictly voluntary on their part.
Good condition is not a requirement for sale: Basically, a car is not required to be in good condition at the time of its sale. In other words, if the engine blows up or the transmission fails two days after the sale, you may have no recourse. However, there is often an implied warranty of merchantability, which means that if you buy a car, it should "act like a car." Your car should be fit for normal use at the time that it's sold.
Get it in writing: If fraudulent or deceitful acts (such as a misleading oral statement) occurred during the sales process, you have the right to take legal action. However, without a witness, such acts can be difficult to prove. It's best to get any statements regarding the car's condition in writing prior to completing the purchase.
Be an informed consumer. Research the cars you're interested in: check out their features, safety, performance and gas mileage averages. Visit your local library and browse articles in current and archive issues of major magazines such as Consumer Reports, Car & Driver, Road & Track. Consult our Buying a Car resources with everything from research tools, dealer search tools and used car listings from Hertz and Enterprise Used Cars.
If you'd like to avoid the hassle of haggling altogether, consider AAA's AAA Auto Buying Service, which guarantees AAA Members a pre-arranged, competitive price for a vehicle at participating dealerships.
AAA's Auto Buying Service makes auto buying easy and saves you money, with pre-arranged, competitive prices at AAA Authorized dealerships and an entire staff of Personal Auto Buying assistants dedicated to helping you every step of the way.
AAA Authorized Dealer Specialists are personally trained to ensure you receive superior customer service and a great value. Additionally, they are the only people at the dealership who have the exclusive AAA Value Sheet to give you the AAA prearranged price.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re buying a new, used or Certified Pre-Owned car: figuring out which car is right one for you, finding a good dealer, and getting a good price. It's no wonder most of us welcome a little help along the way. That's why AAA’s Auto Buying Service is designed to provide our members a great car buying experience, with careful dealer selection, great pricing and personalized service at every step of the way.
Our work starts long before you even step into a participating dealership. We begin by hand-selecting dealers based on their commitment to competitive pricing and excellent service. Once they’re part of the program, we regularly monitor their performance.
To ensure value to our members, the AAA Auto Buying service features ‘pre-arranged’ vehicle pricing at these AAA Authorized dealers based on the results of extensive price comparisons in your market. At each of our dealerships, Authorized Dealer Specialists are trained to offer knowledgeable and professional service to ensure a hassle-free experience.
Unlike any level of customer service in the industry, we have an entire staff of Personal Auto Buying Assistants dedicated to helping you every step of the way – before you buy, during the process or after the purchase - to ensure complete member satisfaction.
If the vehicle you want is not available from the AAA Authorized Dealer’s inventory, the dealer may offer to trade from another dealer or factory-order a vehicle for you. Trading with another dealer may incur an additional charge, which will depend on the individual circumstances. The dealer will advise you of the charge before you commit to the trade.
To ensure you receive the prearranged price and superior customer service that members expect from AAA, call our call center at 1-800-808-7196 to find a AAA Authorized Dealership.
How it works:
1. Find the dealership nearest you offering AAA preferred pricing for the vehicle you selected. Your AAA Authorized Dealer Specialist will call you within 24 hours to set up an appointment.
2. At the appointment, ask for the Authorized Dealer Specialist by name and show your AAA membership card.
3. Test drive your vehicle and ask to see the exclusive AAA Value Sheet to see the money you are saving.
Once you sign an automobile sales contract, you're legally bound by all its terms and conditions. The contract can only be canceled if the dealership permits it, or if there is legal ground for it, such as fraud.
In fact, California state law requires the following statement to be printed on each retail sales contract and lease, and to be posted in each sales cubicle:
Before you buy a car, make sure that the contract you're signing reflects exactly what you're expecting, and that the car you're purchasing is exactly what you want—at the price you believe is fair. Do your homework before you go into the dealership, because you won't be able to change your mind later when you find out they charged you twice what the car is worth!
For more information, please browse our "Tips on Buying a Car."
Unfortunately, it's impossible to say "This car is the safest one around." A car that does well in the government's frontal impact crash test may not perform as well in an offset or side-impact test. It's best to look at different types of safety data and evaluate the car based on your own concerns. Here are some resources for your comparison:
The Highway Loss Data Institute publishes insurance claim data that rates most cars for injury, collision and theft, based on models from the previous three years. While perhaps not as scientific as a lab test, this kind of data may be a better indicator of real-world performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has frontal-impact and frontal-offset crash test data on some new cars. The two tests complement each other; full-width frontal impact tests are especially demanding of restraints but less demanding of structure, while the reverse is true in offsets.
For more information, visit www.safercar.gov, which is a site produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the US Department of Transportation.
AAA does provide services to RVs and Motorhomes on a limited basis. Your RV/Motorhome may be covered as long as the contract station that is dispatched to service your vehicle has the equipment available to perform what is necessary. Services that are provided are covered up to $300.00. In some cases, this may be on a reimbursement basis.
Contact our AAA Emergency Road Service to inquire if your particular vehicle is eligible for service. To contact AAA Roadside Service, please call (800) AAA-HELP ((800) 222-4357) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Motorhomes, cab-over campers, tent trailers, recreational trailers, and trailers transporting a boat, jet ski(s) or snowmobiles(s) are eligible for AAA Emergency Road Service including towing up to $200.00 provided they can be serviced safely and legally with the equipment available. In some cases, you may be asked to obtain service from a commercial tow company and apply for reimbursement consideration.
AAA is committed to providing excellent service to our Members. If you are not satisfied with your roadside service experience, call (800) 222-4357 to document your complaint . One of our AAA Field Support Representatives will contact you within a few business days to acknowledge your complaint and if needed, request further information.
AAA prefers that Members use its Emergency Road Service whenever possible. However, there may be times when AAA services are not available. When other vendors are used because no AAA Emergency Road Service is available when requested, Members may submit a reimbursement form with their original paid receipts for reimbursement consideration. Please be sure to always keep copies for your files. You may pick up the form at the local AAA office or contact us by phone at (800) 922-8228 to have one mailed to you. You can also download our reimbursement application.
Please note that receipts received after 60 days from the date service was rendered might not be considered for reimbursement. All receipts must include the name and Membership number of a valid AAA Member.