Three Out of Four Cars Need Service


car care

BETHESDA, MD--April 3, 2013: If you own a vehicle, chances are it needs some work, according to the Car Care Council. National Car Care Month in April is the ideal time to give your car some extra attention.

The results of vehicle inspections held at community car care events across the country during Car Care Months in April and October 2012 reveal that 77 percent of vehicles need service or parts. An annual analysis of vehicle inspection forms found the top three problem areas posting the highest failure rates to be engine oil (22 percent), engine cooling systems (20 percent) and brake service (18 percent).

Eight percent of the vehicles inspected had the "check engine" light on and new air filters were needed in 19 percent of the vehicles. At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in 14 percent of the vehicles inspected, and 10 percent required at least one new hose. Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 11 percent of the vehicles inspected, while 10 percent of the batteries were not properly held down.

When checking lubricants and fluids, the three top failure rates were: low or dirty motor oil at 22 percent; low, leaky or dirty coolant at 20 percent; and inadequate brake fluid levels at 18 percent. Power steering, coolant and transmission fluids were also checked and had failure rates of 14 percent and below.

Approximately 14 percent of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures, and 1 percent needed service to rear wipers. At least 13 percent of vehicles needed lights replaced, including headlights, brake lights and license plate lights. Improperly inflated tires were found on 9 percent of the cars and 10 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement. Tire pressure failure rate has steadily declined after recording the highest rate of 54 percent in 2003.

"Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "Following a routine maintenance program like the Car Care Council's free personalized schedule and e-mail reminder service  can help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions."

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