Editor’s Notebook: Unperformed Maintenance is ‘Ripe for the Picking’ – UnderhoodService

Editor’s Notebook: Unperformed Maintenance is ‘Ripe for the Picking’

The month of April can be "taxing" in more than one way. Beyond the dreaded income tax return deadline, April is also one of the two times during the year when the Car Care Council issues results of vehicle inspection check lanes held at community car care events across the country.

The month of April can be “taxing” in more than one way. Beyond the dreaded income tax return deadline, April is also one of the two times during the year when the Car Care Council issues results of vehicle inspection check lanes held at community car care events across the country.

And, it wasn’t a pretty picture, as is usually the case. According to the Car Care Council, 84% of vehicles need service or parts, the highest percentage in five years.

Vehicle neglect and the economy have always gone hand in hand, but this year’s results were quite telling of the uneducated consumer mindset toward necessary repairs and preventive maintenance.

And, with gas prices at record levels nationwide, nearing $4 a gallon at press time, those check lane results spell good news more than ever. It’s your chance to extol the undeniable link between regular vehicle maintenance and saving money at the pump. Better-running, well-maintained vehicles boost gas mileage and also prevent bigger-ticket repairs down the road.

 An analysis of vehicle inspection forms, submitted by volunteers who conducted a record number of car care events in 2011, revealed several findings, including:

• Nearly one out of 10 vehicles had the check engine light on.

• New air filters were needed in 19% of the vehicles.

• At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in 20% of the vehicles inspected and 15% required at least one new hose.

• Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 17% of the vehicles inspected.

• 28% had low or dirty motor oil; 24% had low, leaky or dirty coolant and 23% had inadequate washer fluid levels.

• Power steering, transmission and brake fluids had failure rates of 18% and below.

• Approximately 14% of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures and 3% needed service to rear wipers.

• Improperly inflated tires were found on 8% of the cars and 11% had worn tread and were in need of replacement.

Consider hosting a car care event as a value-added service to your customers, with a dual benefit of garnering some unperformed maintenance work that’s ripe for the picking.

Visit www.carcare.org for more information.

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