With the winter season coming to a close and warmer temperatures finally about to take hold, spring cleaning season is well underway. After a particularly brutal past few months in the weather department, keeping up on your vehicle maintenance may have gone by the wayside for many.
With this in mind, the Bethesda, Maryland-based Car Care Council is offering motorists three steps to take to get their vehicles back in tip-top shape for spring.
“Many vehicles end up neglected during the winter months and could use a little extra care to get them ready for the spring and summer driving season,” said Rich White, executive director for the Car Care Council.
For starters, the organization says motorists should make a commitment to keep their cars clean. This can be difficult to maintain in the winter as salt and sand line the city streets, but regular car washes and waxes protect the exterior from becoming corroded, and with less debris on the roads in the spring, cars should stay cleaner longer.
Secondly, the council recommends putting one’s car on a schedule. Knowing when the vehicle last received an oil change or scheduling to have it changed every 5,000 miles or so will help make sure the vehicle remains dependable for the long-term.
Finally, the Car Care Council says it can be easy to forget about the little things that can wear down a car. For instance, a tiny ping in a windshield can lead to a gigantic crack across the face if it isn’t tended to quickly. In short, if a car is telling the operator that something needs attention, drivers should heed the warning. If there’s a caution and warning light flashing on the dashboard, the windshield wipers aren’t cleaning the way they should or the “check engine” indicator is lit, drivers should not assume the problem will fix itself. The council says repairing small things now can dramatically prolong a car’s life.
April is National Car Care Month, and every year at that time, the Car Care Council releases statistics detailing the results of vehicle inspections from that year from volunteer organizations and businesses around the country.
For the past ten Aprils, vehicle failure rates – where at least one component or part of a vehicle failed the inspection process – have reached epidemic proportions. For instance, in April 2010 alone, the vehicle failure rate was 72 percent. While that’s high, at least it’s trending in the right direction. Since 2004, the failure rate was 80 percent or higher every year. April 2002 was the worst at 91 percent, with 9 out of every 10 vehicles failing at least one component of an inspection.