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Campaign reminds drivers to care for their cars

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 18, 2016

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Many days, weeks and months of the year have an awareness campaign tied to them, but an April campaign to celebrate National Car Care Month hopes to remind drivers that auto parts can wear out or malfunction if not maintained.

According to car maintenance professionals, many drivers take advantage of this time of the year to get a fresh vehicle inspection or maintenance. 

In March, the nonprofit Car Care Council — which promotes National Car Care Month — said in a press release that a 2015 study of vehicle inspections revealed that approximately 80 percent of vehicles require some sort of service, repair or part. 

The group said one of the biggest offenses was low or inadequate fluids, such as washer fluid, oil or coolant. Parts that needed attention included air filters, belts, batteries or windshield wiper blades. In addition, some people also had the check engine signal lit.

Kyle Mitchell, service manager at Village Automotive in Royal Oak, listed a series of mileage or time milestones that can prompt the need to replace fluids. 

He said antifreeze needs to be checked to make sure it hasn’t broken down, which could put the car at risk of overheating in the summer. In the past, antifreeze usually had to be changed every three years, but many new cars have changed that to five or, in some cases, seven years, he said. 

“Power steering fluid, it just depends on how dirty it is,” he added. 

Mitchell also said air filters, belts and hoses are on the main list to check during an inspection. As for the check engine light, how it lights up can determine the urgency of any problem. If it lights up solidly, it indicates there is a problem with the vehicle—though it sometimes can be as innocent as not tightening the gas cap, he said.

“It usually means something is not working at peak efficiency,” he said. 

But while a solid engine light should spur a driver to make an appointment to get an inspection, a flashing check engine light is more urgent, Mitchell said.

“Get it in immediately,” he said.

Josh Rott, owner of Tuffy Tire & Auto Service in Farmington Hills, said that Michigan’s winter roads can wear down suspension parts on a vehicle’s front end and can cause tires to be misaligned. Without periodic tire realignments, tires will wear unevenly and prematurely, he explained.

He also said the Freon in a vehicle’s air conditioning might need some adjustment after several months of not being used. 

“It might take several cycles for the air conditioning to work, or it might need to be recharged at a proper facility with the right machine,” he said. 

For people who are traveling and want to get the most out of their vehicle’s gas mileage, things that may improve fuel economy include checking tire pressure or doing a fuel induction service, he said. 

“We also could add a fuel system cleaner to immediately increase fuel efficiency by 1 to 2, even 3 miles per gallon,” he said.

Find out about Village Automotive in Royal Oak by visiting or by calling (248) 549-5300.

Contact Tuffy Tire & Auto Service in Farmington Hills by visiting or by calling (248) 477-3788.

Learn more about National Car Care Month by visiting