For nine of 10 vehicles, failure is an option

Oct. 1, 2003
Ninety percent of vehicles inspected during National Car Care Month in April failed one or more aspects of the inspection, which underscores the need

Ninety percent of vehicles inspected during National Car Care Month in April 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.”

These tables show the percentage of motorists participating in the National Car Care Month inspection campaign whose vehicles failed this part of the inspection.

Lubricants and FluidsWasher Fluid 46% Engine Oil 38% Power Steering Fluid 25% Transmission Fluid 22% Coolant (add) 15% Coolant (flush) 13% Brake Fluid 10%

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 WipersWindshield Wipers 21% Rear Wiper or Washer 14%

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

PartsBelts 19% Air Filter 16% Hoses 12% PCV Filter 6% Battery: — Cables, Clamps, Terminals 19% — Fluid Low or Sealed 10% — Test Eye 8% — Carrier/Hold Down 5%

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 positive crankcase ventilation (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.

TiresTire Pressure 54% Tread Depth 14%

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.

Lights/VisionTurn Signals 8% Brake Lights 6% Side Lights 5% Headlights 1% Parking Lights 1% Tail Lights 1% License Plate Lights 1% Backup Lights 1%

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 five percent of vehicles failed their side light inspection. Only one percent of vehicles failed the inspection for their headlights, parking lights, taillights, backup lights, and license plate lights.

The Car Care Council is offering a free service interval schedule to show 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 phone 240-333-1088.