The Car Care Council (CCC) reported on January 11 this year that results of vehicle check-up events during Car Care Aware Fairs across the US in April and October 2006 revealed that consumer negligence is the main cause auto part disorders.
According to them, nearly 9 out of 10 vehicles need service or parts, underscoring the huge untapped DIY and DIFM sales opportunities for the automotive aftermarket. The unsatisfactory condition of vehicles also reinforces the continued need for consumer education about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair.
Car Care Council Executive Director Rich White said "Vehicle check-up events are typically the focus of Car Care Aware Fairs sponsored by repair shops, parts stores, distributors in cooperation with local vocational schools, media, civic groups and others. While these events are free to consumers and serve as community-relations builders, most aftermarket businesses who participate experience an increase in sales and customers as a result."
In an analysis of nearly 1,000 vehicle inspection forms, submitted from event coordinators in 16 states, results showed 88 percent of the vehicles checked during National Car Care Month in April and Fall Car Care Month in October needed parts replacement, service or fluids. The top problem areas were motor oil, windshield wipers, air filters, belts and hoses and lights.
Upon checking lubricants and fluids, the three top failure rates were: low, overfull or dirty motor oil at 30 percent, inadequate washer fluid levels at 28 percent, and low, leaky or dirty coolant at 28 percent. Transmission, brake, power steering and clutch fluids were also checked and had failure rates of 26 percent and below.
Approximately 15 percent of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures and 9 percent needed service to rear wipers.
At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in 22 percent of the vehicles inspected and 14 percent required at least one new hose. New air filters were needed in 25 percent of the vehicles, while 8 percent needed new PVC filters. The "check engine" light was on in 8 percent of the vehicles.
Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 17 percent of the vehicles inspected, while 9 percent of the batteries were not properly held down. Eleven percent had either a green, dark or clear/yellow charge indicator light.
Improperly inflated tires were found on 20 percent of the cars and 11 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement.
The leading failure rates for vehicle lights/vision were license plate lights at 18 percent, brake lights at 10 percent, and side markers at 8 percent.
Clutch parts were also among the top failure rates. And like any other auto part, can be maintained by car owners. Poor maintenance of the gearbox clutch and worm shaft assembly can increase machine cycling, resulting in costly repairs and pinsetter downtime. The gearbox clutch should be disassembled and checked once a year for worn facings, bad bearings, worn clutch shoes and proper lubrication. The worm shaft splines should also be checked for wear and proper lubrication. Checking them regularly should also be a great time to fix any oil leaks coming from bad gaskets or worm shaft assembly seals.