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With more than 400 check lanes conducted around the country, National Car Care Month (NCCM) 2005 in April was the most successful NCCM to date. Statistics from these events, however, continue to underscore the need for consumer education. Building on the success of National Car Care Month in April, and in response to the industry’s interest in a seasonal option, the Car Care Council has designated October as Fall Car Care Month to focus motorists’ attention on the importance of preparing their vehicles for the upcoming winter months.

Volunteers across the country will be conducting another round of events this October.

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


* Engine Oil 30%
* Transmission Fluid 26%
* Brake Fluid 23%
* Power Steering Fluid 21%
* Coolant (Flush) 20%
* Washer Fluid 18%
* Coolant (Low Surge Tank) 16%
* Coolant (Low Radiator) 11%
* Coolant (Leaks) 8%

Low fluid levels can affect the safe driving performance of the vehicle and damage internal parts if not properly maintained. Close to 30 percent of vehicles failed the inspection because of low, overfull or dirty motor oil. More than one-quarter of the vehicles inspected (26 percent) had either low, overfull or burnt transmission fluid. Twenty-three percent had low or contaminated brake fluid. Twenty-one percent had low or dirty power steering fluid and 18 percent failed the washer fluid inspection.

The cooling system protects against damage by keeping the engine operating within the correct temperature range. More than one-tenth of the vehicles inspected (11 percent) had low levels of coolant in the radiator and 16 percent had low coolant levels in their surge tank. One-fifth of the vehicles inspected needed a coolant flush, which is needed to protect the system from rust, dirt and mineral deposits. An additional 8 percent of vehicles had coolant leaks.


* Windshield Wipers 17%
* Rear Wiper or Washer 12%

Close to one-fifth of vehicles (17 percent) had front windshield wiper failures and 12 percent of vehicles needed service on their rear wipers and/or washers.


* Air Filter 24%
* Belts 19%
* Hoses 17%
* PCV Filter 13%


* Cables, Clamps or Terminals 13%
* Carrier/Hold Down 7%

Roadside breakdowns can be avoided by motorists periodically checking their belts and hoses and replacing them when worn. At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in nearly one-fifth of the vehicles inspected (19 percent) and 17 percent of the vehicles required at least one new hose.

The air filter keeps abrasive dust, dirt, bugs and other foreign matter out of the fuel system air intake. A dirty filter can decrease gas mileage and increase emissions. Approximately one-quarter of the vehicles checked (24 percent) needed new air filters. In addition, 13 percent of vehicles were in need of new PCV filters.

Battery cables, clamps and terminals were found to need maintenance in 13 percent of the vehicles and 7 percent of the batteries were not properly held down.


* Tire Pressure 21%
* Tire Depth 16%
* Tire Condition (Damage) 11%

Low tire pressure decreases gas mileage and tire life. Vehicles traveling with worn tread are at greater risk of losing traction on wet or snowy roads. Twenty-one percent of the vehicles were found to have improperly inflated tires and 16 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement. An additional 11 percent of vehicles had damaged tires and were in poor condition.


* Brake Lights 13%
* License Plate Lights 9%
* “Check Engine” Light 6%
* Backup Lights 5%
* Side Lights 5%
* Turn Signals 5%
* Parking Lights 3%
* Headlights 3%
* Tail Lights 2%

Vehicle lighting provides a means of communicating among drivers and is vital to any properly functioning vehicle. Thirteen percent of vehicles inspected needed work on their left, right or third brake light. Nine percent of vehicles needed work on at least one of their license plate lights. Six percent of vehicles had their “Check Engine” light on. Five percent of vehicles failed due to backup light failure and five percent failed their side light inspection. An additional five percent of vehicles needed work on at least one of their turn signals and three percent of vehicles failed the inspection for their parking lights. Three percent of inspected vehicles failed for their headlights while two percent failed because of their tail lights.

The following articles are derived from the Car Care Council library to help you better understand how to take care of your car. Organized by subject area, they include a word count and brief description. If you’d like to suggest a topic, please contact info@carcare.org.


High Water Headaches
While your vehicle may not have been flooded or completely covered in water, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should not be concerned about water damage. If you drove through high water, there’s a chance that you may have damaged your vehicle. It all comes down to how much water the vehicle took in and where it reached.

Botox For Your Car?
Automotive upholstery and interior repair shops, known as trim shops, can fix a drooping headliner, replace worn carpeting, repair torn upholstery and replace a weathered convertible top.

Rust: A Nasty Four Letter-Word
How to prevent rusting due to minor dings and scratches.

Your Car Looks Like New. What’s Your Secret?
Tips on the latest techniques to help keep car looking new.

A Clean Car Is Cool
An excellent car washing guide, which includes advice on a few commercial products that make the job easier.

An Automotive Gift for Mother’s Day? You Bet!
Describes several non-traditional Mother’s Day gifts from the automotive industry. This type of unexpected, yet practical gift may be what Mom really wants.

Dad’s “Automotive Type” Helps Decide Father’s Day Gift
Whether your dad is a do-it-yourselfer (DIY) or a Do-It-For-Me type (DIFM), consider an automotive gift for dad this Father’s Day.

“Bells & Whistles” Enhance
Considering the cost of trading in your vehicle vs. investing in enhancement accessories, the latter decision may be a “no brainer.”

Proper Washing And Waxing Add Value To Vehicle
More than one-third of car owners use damaging non-automotive products when washing their cars-products that could contain harmful detergents, abrasives and additives. And almost half of motorists don’t ever wax their vehicles.


Take Control of Rising Gas Prices
Consumers can add miles to every gallon they pump by following a few easy and inexpensive maintenance steps with their car, SUV, minivan or pickup truck.

Spend Your Tax Refund on One of Your Biggest Investments
Maintaining present vehicle may be key to long-term financial happiness. The Car Care Council estimates that more than $62 billion in vehicle maintenance and repair is not performed every year, evidence that there is considerably more that consumers should be doing to protect their automotive investment.

Penny Wise – Pound Foolish Auto Glass Decisions
There are thousands of responsible auto glass companies in the U.S. that perform high-quality, safe windshield replacement. If you know what questions to ask in selecting a glass shop, and what to look for during the installation, you greatly improve the odds of avoiding the unprofessional practitioner.

Maintaining Present Vehicle May Make Financial Sense
Although you may want to get rid of your present vehicle in favor of a new car, taking better care of your current set of wheels may make much more sense in the long run-helping you achieve a goal of financial freedom.

147 Million Gallons of Wasted Gas? It’s a Drop in the Bucket
Loose gas caps are among many reasons for wasted fuel.

How to Shop For A Battery
Knowing the terminology of battery ratings helps in this buying decision.

Keeping Your Leased Car or Buying an Off-Lease? Check It Out
An off-lease vehicle can be a good deal if you know what you’re getting into.

The Road to a Long-Lasting Automobile
Auto technicians say the key to keeping vehicles running well-today and down the road-is routine maintenance.

Fuel Savings Tips as Gas Prices Soar
With gas prices exceeding two dollars a gallon in many parts of the country, the Car Care Council is offering gas-saving maintenance and driving tips that really work.

Stress Management Works for Holidays and Automobiles
Take care of your car’s seasonal services immediately and make plans to get ahead of the game next year. An early visit to your repair facility provides the opportunity to budget for unanticipated repairs.


It’s Time for the 21st Century Tune-up
One of the biggest changes in today’s automotive industry is the perception of a “tune-up.” Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there’ll be 10 different answers. The classic “tune-up” was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs, today’s modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

Are Dirty Cabin Air Filters Preventing You From Breathing Easily in Your Car?
During the hot summer months, contaminants, such as pollen, dust, mold spores and smog, can easily enter a vehicle’s passenger compartment through the air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, making the air in the car six times dirtier than the air outside.

Bad News: An Engine “Totaled,” Good News: A Remanufactured Engine

Ignoring warning lights can lead to ruining an engine. But don’t be too quick to get rid of an otherwise good vehicle because the engine is shot. Here’s good information on other options.

It’s All in the Timing
The timing belt: what it is, what it does, why it should be replaced as recommended and what could happen if it should fail.

Drivetrain Quiz
Drive train maintenance is the subject of this multiple choice quiz. Material includes drive train components, including clutch, CV joints, etc.

Avoiding a Stalled Vehicle
A stalled car can cause a ripple effect that brings out the worst in drivers. Don’t let your car put you in jeopardy.

Check Your Cool Quotient With a Cooling System Quiz
This five-question, multiple choice quiz will help you brush up on your knowledge of your vehicle’s cooling system.

Hot Weather the True Culprit Behind Car-Battery Trouble
Summer is the season for major car-battery problems. Heat, not cold, shortens battery life, says the Car Care Council.

Cold Facts About A/C Refrigerant
How did we ever get along without air conditioning in our cars? It’s a feature we take for granted until, suddenly, it’s blowing hot air.

Remanufacturing: The Original Recycling
Ten or 15 years ago, auto technicians would rebuild hard parts for customers right in the shop. Today, that system doesn’t work, because consumers don’t have time to wait and don’t want to pay for the additional labor. Remanufacturing now solves these problems, and as such, it is one of the largest product categories in the automotive aftermarket.


Taking the Scare Out of Driving on Halloween
Driving on Halloween can be frightening for motorists, especially when little “ghouls” and “goblins” – out after dark and full of excitement – forget road safety rules or wear costumes or masks that limit their vision…

Vehicle Roll Overs – Properly Replaced Windshields Essential
The windshield is a crucial component in preserving the structural integrity of the vehicle‘s passenger compartment during rollovers. If a damaged windshield is not properly replaced and becomes dislodged from the vehicle during rollover, roof crush resistance may be compromised.

Your Windshield IQ – What You Don’t Know Could Be Dangerous
In the modern automobile and truck, the windshield is part of the vehicle’s safety restraint system (SRS), that also includes air bags and seat belts. If any of these safety components are damaged or are inoperable for any reason, the effectiveness of the entire SRS could be compromised.

Vehicle Prep for Daylight Savings Time
Proper vehicle lighting will be vital to safety when daylight-savings time ends on October 26. To prepare for fewer hours of daylight and the extra hours of darkness, the Car Care Council encourages motorists to take a few minutes to inspect their vehicles to ensure that all of the lights are working properly.

Replace Wiper Blades for Safety
Why put up with worn wipers? They’re so easy to replace.

Does “On the Road Again” Mean “On the Phone Again”?
A cell phone, like so many other things in a vehicle can be a life saver…or a dangerous distraction. Here are some points to consider.

Connecting Jumper Cables
This article explains how to connect jumper cables safely.

Comprehensive Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off
This article explains why motorists whould give their vehicle a complete physical before a vacation trip. It includes the items to check.

A Change for the Better? Just Ask Your Brakes
Most motorists don’t realize that contaminated brake fluid creates a dangerous situation. System should be flushed and fluid changed periodically.

Brake Safety Compromised With Contaminated Brake Fluid
Brake fluid, which can become contaminated, should be replaced periodically as a safety measure.

For Safer Teen Drivers, Read This Before Handing Over The Keys
Here’s valuable advice on teaching young drivers about preventive maintenance.

Consumers Can Avoid Problems by Watching for Warning Signs
When it comes to your car’s safety, brakes top the list of systems that need monitoring. However, many people are unaware of the signs that indicate a car’s brakes may need maintenance or repair.

Spring Showers Bring Driving Safety Hazards
Worn out tires and windshield wiper blades are symptoms of neglected vehicle maintenance that put drivers and passengers at serious risk during the typically rainy months of spring