BETHESDA, Md. Results of vehicle check-up events at community car care events across the country in April and October 2008 revealed that 80 percent of vehicles need service or parts, underscoring the huge untapped DIY and DIFM sales opportunities for the automotive aftermarket, the Car Care Council reported this week.
The unsatisfactory condition of vehicles also reinforces the continued need for consumer education about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair.
An analysis of vehicle inspection forms, submitted from event coordinators in several states, shows that 80 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. For example, nearly one out of every 10 vehicles had the check engine light on. The top problem areas were motor oil, windshield wipers, air filters, belts and hoses and lights.
“Vehicle check-up events are typically the focus of community car care events sponsored by repair shops, parts stores or distributors in cooperation with local vocational schools, media, civic groups and others,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “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.”
When checking lubricants and fluids, the three top failure rates were: low, overfull or dirty motor oil at 32 percent; inadequate washer fluid levels at 23 percent, and low, leaky or dirty coolant at 23 percent; transmission, brake, power steering and clutch fluids were also checked and had failure rates of 17 percent and below.
Approximately 15 percent of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures and 10 percent needed service to rear wipers.
At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in 18 percent of the vehicles inspected, and 7 percent required at least one new hose. New air filters were needed in 18 percent of the vehicles, while 7 percent needed new PVC filters. The check engine light was on in 9 percent of the vehicles.
Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 10 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 15 percent of the cars and 12 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement.