Another survey has shown that drivers are heading out on road trips without making sure their cars are in good working order.
The latest from a survey commissioned by OK Tire through Léger found that some 50% of Canadians are planning to take a road trip this summer, but less than a third plan to bring their car to an automotive service provider to make sure it’s ready for the trip ahead.
While the survey did reveal that more than two-thirds of drivers said they were top up their fluids and check their tires–I guess we can take their word for it–the results echo the same theme as other recent survey finding: Drivers do not have a good appreciation of what maintaining a vehicle means.
Particularly as on road activity increases wake of various degrees of idleness and neglect since the pandemic took hold, this leaves drivers open to having a very poor road trip experience.
A recent survey of American drivers by tire supplier Hankook found similar neglect:
According to the Hankook Tire Gauge Index, twice as many Americans are driving regularly compared to the beginning of the pandemic. While 66% of Americans were driving at least a few times per week, compared with just 31% in April 2020, the Gauge Index found that most of had not been looking after their vehicles.
In general terms this is likely holding true for Canadian drivers as well. And likely so do the maintenance habits, or lack thereof.
According to the Gauge, 70% of drivers across the U.S. had not checked their tire pressure in the 30 days prior, despite the industry recommendation to do so at least once a month. In addition, 73% had not topped off their vehicle fluids, and two-in-three had not cleaned their vehicle, inside or out.
Further, only one-in-three Americans (32%) surveyed have taken their vehicles out for regular drives, which is useful to keep fluids circulated, the battery charged, and to help spot any mechanical issues that may need professional attention.
Overall, one-in-five Americans (22%) admitted that they had done no maintenance on their vehicle in the prior 30 days.
For its part, OK Tire is urging drivers to bring their vehicles in for a pre-trip inspection including:
Test your lights. – Testing your lights might seem straightforward but it is a necessary step to take especially if you’re driving overnight. Over time lights can dim or burn out and don’t forget that the plastic casing covering the headlights may become cloudy due to ageing and your OK Tire Auto Service provider can fix that.
Test your brakes. – Malfunctioning brakes can lead to dangerous consequences and signs that you’ve ignored on your short drives might be key indicators that you need a brake replacement. This is especially important if you’re hauling a trailer or caravan as the extra weight adds additional friction and heat on the brakes. Typical indicators that your brakes need to be inspected or replaced are a high pitched squeal when driving or a grinding noise when applying the brakes. You may also notice that it takes longer to stop than normal. It’s always best to visit a certified technician to thoroughly inspect your brakes before heading out on a road trip.
Get a Multi-Point Inspection for your car. – There are only so many potential issues we can spot ourselves so it’s always best to check with a certified technician before you take off for your summer road trip. They will check the belts and hoses, the essential fluids and filters and confirm if they need to be changed or topped up (i.e. oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid and power steering fluid). It’s also best to plan – bring in your vehicle a few weeks in advance to give the shop the necessary time to fix your vehicle should they have to.