With another National Car Care Month upon us, we take a look back at last year’s findings. All totaled, 84 percent of vehicles inspected at community car care events in April 2011 and October 2011 (National Car Care Months) were in need of service or parts. That’s the highest percentage in five years, according to the Car Care Council. An analysis of vehicle inspection forms found the top problem areas to be engine oil and fluids, air filters, battery cables, lights, belts, and hoses.
Nearly one out of 10 vehicles 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 20 percent of the vehicles inspected, and 15 percent required at least one new hose. Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 17 percent of the vehicles inspected, while 10 percent of the batteries were not properly held down.
When checking lubricants and fluids, the top failure rates were: low or dirty motor oil at 28 percent; low, leaky or dirty coolant at 24 percent; and inadequate washer fluid levels at 23 percent. Power steering, transmission, and brake fluids also were checked and had failure rates of at least 18 percent.
Roughly 14 percent of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures, and 3 percent needed service to rear wipers. As many as 16 percent of vehicles needed lights replaced, including headlights, brake lights and license plate lights. Improperly inflated tires were found on 8 percent of the cars, while 11 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement.