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AAA Survey Cites Top-Five Car Troubles, NAPA Offers Solutions


ATLANTA--Tire pressure was the number one vehicle issue identified during the most recent nationwide clinics conducted by AAA and its affiliated repair facilities. Results are based on inspections conducted on 6,082 vehicles by 25 different AAA clubs.

As a leading automotive solutions source, NAPA has partnered with AAA to offer answers to some of the most common vehicle challenges.

Drivers should check tire pressure at least once a month to ensure tires are not under or over-inflated, said Kit Johnson, the 2007 NAPA Technician of the Year from East Helena, Mont. Low pressure in the tires can increase wear and fuel consumption, while having too much pressure may reduce traction. Keeping tires properly aligned will also help assure longer tire life and improve fuel economy.

During the AAA events, inspectors discovered the following:

  • A clogged air filter was the second most common issue. Johnson says that maintaining and replacing air filters as often as recommended in the owners manual will ensure better air flow through the engine. This, in turn, will improve engine efficiency and result in more power and better fuel mileage.
  • Insufficient tire tread depth was the third most common problem. For sufficient traction, tires should have a minimum of 3/32 tread depth. Johnson recommends using a depth gauge or a penny to measure your tires tread depth. If using a penny, insert the penny into the tread groove with Lincolns face showing and his head upside down, says Johnson. If you can see all of Lincolns head, the tire needs to be replaced. Most tires also have built-in tread wear indicators that let the driver know when tire replacement is necessary.
  • Engine oil that was low or needed changing was the fourth most common situation. Dirty oil will increase engine wear, while low oil levels can lead to overheating. If the oil level drops too low, lubrication will be lost and severe engine damage can result. Regular oil changes will add longevity to the engine.
  • The fifth most troublesome item was worn-out windshield wiper blades. Rigid, cracked or torn wiper blades can greatly reduce visibility when driving in rain and snow. Johnson recommends examining and replacing them once a year, or sooner if streaking begins.

Other areas cited as needing attention during the inspections included transmission fluid, engine coolant, antifreeze protection (for a minimum of -25° Fahrenheit), battery cables/clamps/terminals and windshield washer fluid.

The results of our AAA Make Sense of Car Care inspections show that many drivers are not taking good basic care of their vehicle, which can lead to increased wear, breakdowns, or even accidents, said John Nielsen, Director of Repair, Auto Acquisition and Consumer Information at AAA.

The vehicles they drive are often consumers second-largest investmentnext to their homes, said Johnson. To keep automobiles operating as efficiently as possible, it is important for consumers and their trusted service technician to take a proactive approach to vehicle care and know specific areas to watch for during the coming year.

NAPA AutoCare Centers offer a preventive maintenance program that includes a complete inspection and regular monitoring of vehicle systems. Consumers can learn more about this program by contacting their local NAPA AutoCare Center or by calling 800-LET-NAPA.

About AAA

As North Americas largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 50 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers


NAPA AUTO PARTS distributes parts, accessories, tools and equipment to 6,000 NAPA AUTO PARTS stores and more than 12,000 NAPA AutoCare Centers nationwide. For more information, visit