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2003 National Car Care Month Inspections Show 90 Percent Failure Rate

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 26, 2003 -- Ninety percent of vehicles inspected during National Car Care Month failed one or more aspects of the inspection, which underscores the need for consumer education, according to the Car Care Council. The inspection lanes, conducted throughout the United States by sponsoring local organizations and businesses, are part of the automotive aftermarket industry's ongoing public awareness campaign, "Be Car Care Aware."

Volunteers across the country conducted the events. Coordinators reported their activities to the Car Care Council by returning inspection forms for compilation.

"The fact that nine out of 10 vehicles inspected required some maintenance reinforces the need for the motoring public to become more aware of the maintenance needs of their vehicles," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "The potential effects on highway safety, air quality, cost of operation, vehicle performance and vehicle dependability are self- evident from these results."

Lubricants and Fluids

Thirty eight percent of vehicles had low, overfull or dirty motor oil. Forty six percent of the vehicles inspected needed washer fluid. Twenty five percent had low or dirty power steering fluid, 22 percent of inspected vehicles had either low, overfull or burnt transmission fluid and 10 percent of vehicles had low brake fluid.

Fifteen percent of the vehicles had low levels of coolant. Thirteen percent of vehicles needed a coolant flush, which is needed to protect the system from rust, dirt and mineral deposits.

Windshield Wipers

Twenty one percent of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures and 14 percent of vehicles needed service on their rear wipers and/or washer.


At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in 19 percent of the vehicles and 12 percent of the vehicles required at least one new hose.

Sixteen percent of the vehicles checked needed new air filters. In addition, 6 percent of vehicles were in need of new PCV filters.

Battery cables, clamps and terminals were found to need maintenance in 19 percent of the vehicles and 5 percent of the batteries were not properly held down. Ten percent of the vehicles inspected had low battery fluid and 8 percent had improper test eye readings.


Fifty-four percent of the vehicles were found to have improperly inflated tires and 14 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement.

Eight percent of vehicles inspected needed work on at least one of their turn signals. Six percent of vehicles had problems with at least one of their brake lights and 5 percent of vehicles failed their side light inspection. Only 1 percent of vehicles failed the inspection for their headlights, parking lights, taillights, backup lights and license plate lights.

As part of the "Be Car Care Aware" education campaign, the Car Care Council is offering a free service interval schedule to help take the guesswork out of what vehicle systems need to be routinely inspected and when service or repair should be performed. The schedule can be printed for free from the Car Care Council's Web site at

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit the Web site at or call 240-333-1088.