Dirty air filters are the most common preventive maintenance problem for vehicle owners as identified in nationwide clinics conducted by AAA clubs.
As a leader in preventive maintenance, ASE-certified technicians at NAPA AutoCare Centers are trained to look for common preventive maintenance areas before they turn into problems.
“Changing the air filter at the interval specified in the owner’s manual will keep clean air flowing to the engine,” said Bob Arlotta, NAPA’s 2008 Technician of the Year. “Effective air flow will result in improved engine efficiency which helps improve fuel mileage and engine power.”
The AAA clinics also revealed several other common preventive maintenance problems:
Low Tire Pressure – Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month to ensure tires are not under or over-inflated. Tires pressure levels should match recommended levels in the owner’s manual. Low pressure in the tires can increase wear and fuel consumption. Having too much pressure may reduce traction. Keeping tires properly aligned will also help ensure longer tire life and improve fuel economy.
Worn Wiper Blades – Rigid, cracked or torn wiper blades can greatly reduce visibility when driving in rain and snow. Arlotta recommends examining and replacing them once a year or sooner if streaking occurs.
Low or Old Engine Oil Old and dirty oil reduces engine protection and increases engine wear, while low oil levels can lead to overheating. If the oil level drops too low, lubrication will be lost and severe engine damage can result. Regular oil changes (based on the schedule suggested in the owner’s manual) will add longevity to the engine.
Old Transmission Fluid – Changing automatic transmission fluid at the intervals recommended by the vehicle manufacturer will keep the vehicle shifting smoothly and extend the life of the transmission. “Go to a technician with a transmission flusher to change your transmission fluid,” said Arlotta. “The small cost of changing the fluid will help save you from the large expense of a new transmission.”
Other common problem areas found during the AAA clinics included antifreeze protection (for a minimum of -25° Fahrenheit), engine coolant, washer fluid, tire tread (for a minimum depth 3/32") and brake fluid.
“In tough economic times, vehicle owners tend to delay preventive maintenance and needed repairs,” said Arlotta. “However that can end up costing more in the long run. To save money and avoid problems, owners should follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule and listen to their technicians. Don’t ignore an issue hoping it vanishes that’s just asking for trouble.”
NAPA AutoCare Centers offer a preventive maintenance program that includes a complete inspection and regular monitoring of vehicle systems. Consumers can learn more about this program by contacting their local NAPA AutoCare Center or by calling 800-LET-NAPA. For more information, visit http://www.NAPAAutoCare.com.