For motorists, delaying car care is a costly decision

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, April 29, 2012

(ARA) – Drivers count on their vehicles to get them to their destinations safely, but how well a vehicle runs depends on how much effort motorists put into protecting their investment in their cars.

About 70 percent of vehicles on the road are in need of some repair, according to the National Car Care Council. A recent article from revealed that 40 percent of consumers involved in repair decisions are postponing car maintenance or repair on their primary vehicle.

“Delaying service on critical items such as brakes, batteries or mechanical components can seriously affect a vehicle’s safety and performance,” says AutoZone’s Jimmie Swims, category manager for brakes. “Maintaining and replacing key components such as brakes and batteries at proper intervals can keep vehicles on the road and help prevent dangerous and costly breakdowns in the future. The key is to be proactive. Take care of your car so it can take care of you.”

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To help motorists get and stay safely on the road, AutoZone is offering these tips from Bruce Bonebrake, certified Master Automotive Technician and host of Weekend Mechanic on the DIY network.

“A lot of conditions affect how well a car performs, from the driving conditions to how well the car is maintained,” Bonebrake says. “With that in mind, motorists should make time to show their cars some TLC before problems arise.”

* Perform routine scheduled maintenance checks. Motorists should check their owner’s manual for a schedule of recommended maintenance intervals from the vehicle manufacturer. If the owner’s manual has been lost, many websites, such as the National Car Care Council’s web site, offer a recommended maintenance schedule for vehicles.

* Be proactive. Don’t wait for a breakdown to check important car components such as brakes and batteries. Proactive checks and preventative maintenance of these critical car parts can be the difference between staying on the road and being stranded on the roadside.

* Give brakes a check-up. Hazardous road conditions can lead to increased use of Antilock Braking Systems (ABS), which can cause premature wear of all brake system components.

As temperatures warm up, motorists should check their braking systems to uncover any damage that may have occurred during the winter months.

Motorists who frequently drive in harsh conditions or use their vehicles for towing, sports or other heavy duty applications should consider brakes such as Duralast Gold Severe Duty brakes, which are designed to withstand extreme heat and make quicker and cooler stops for longer brake life. Choosing a quality, high performance braking pad can provide longer brake life, quieter rides and smoother stops.

Check brakes quarterly to ensure proper performance. Brakes are the most important safety feature on any vehicle and should be checked each time the vehicle is serviced or as soon as you suspect a problem to ensure proper performance. Brake pads and rotors should also be checked any time the tires are removed, such as during a tire rotation. Other brake components such as brake fluid should be checked at every oil change.

* Extreme temperatures can mean battery failure. Corrosion caused by heat is the leading cause of battery failure.

Test batteries if they are four years old or older. While batteries can last more than five years in ideal driving conditions, factors such as temperature, the car’s age and nature of usage can impact the life of a battery. Batteries often do not give noticeable warning signs if they’re about to fail. Retailers such as AutoZone offer free battery testing in most states.

Drivers seeking more information about protecting their auto investments and extending the lives of their vehicles can visit for car care tips and maintenance how-to videos.