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A Healthy Car Helps Ensure Happy Highway Traveling
Sat, 17 Jun 2006, 17:50

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Info graphic: Leading Failure Categories By Percentage of Vehicles Checked.
(NUI) - Most of us would think twice about starting out on a trip if one of the family was "coming down with something." But many motorists take to the road with ailing vehicles. The result: Car trouble has been named the No. 1 cause of spoiled family trips. And it's generally preventable trouble, such as an overheated engine or tire failure.

Eight out of 10 drive belt failures, for example, end up causing a breakdown; these belts operate several systems including, on most vehicles, the cooling system.

Tire failure not only is an inconvenience, it also is the leading cause of accidents due to mechanical failure (53 percent). Most of those failures can be attributed to owner neglect.

Among the thousands of vehicles driving through voluntary check lanes during National Car Care Month each year, an average of 26 percent are rejected because of unsatisfactory tread or pressure.

Most preventive maintenance is relatively simple, says the Car Care Council. Change the oil periodically; check all the belts, fluids and tires at least once a month; and, suggests the Council, if it has not been done within the past six months, have the wheels aligned and balanced before extended driving.

Another preventive measure that can further set your mind at ease: A diagnostic engine check. A late model car may have a dozen or more computers and sensors controlling the engine and transmission. They, along with some 1,500 wires in the system, can have a dramatic effect on whether or not your car takes you to your destination and back without incident.

The best way to avoid trouble: preventive maintenance. The Council offers valuable tips on that subject in its illustrated pamphlet, "How to Find Your Way Under the Hood and Around the Car." It's free. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Car Care Council, Dept. UH, One Grande Lake Drive, Port Clinton, OH 43452.

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