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A 10-Minute Checkup Prepares Car for Thanksgiving Travel

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 15, 2006 -- Thanksgiving meals take hours to prepare, but getting the car ready for travel on Turkey Day can take as little as 10 minutes. The Car Care Council suggests the following 10-minute checkup to help ensure vehicle safety and reliability on Thanksgiving when millions of Americans take to the roads to visit family and friends.

    * Check all fluids. There are several fluids that should be checked
      including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids,
      and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

    * Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical
      system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling
      system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old
      hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced.

    * Check the tires. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven
      wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges
      and bald spots.

    * Check lighting. Check all exterior and interior lighting to identify
      any problems. Car Care Council vehicle check-up lanes revealed an
      overall failure rate of more than 25 percent in the lighting category.

    * Check wipers. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months. Make
      sure the windshield wipers are working properly and keep the reservoir
      filled with solvent.

"A pre-trip inspection helps reduce the chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble. It also provides an opportunity to have repairs done by one's own technician locally who knows the vehicle," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car's performance, it's comforting to know proper precautions were taken."

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