ORLANDO, Fla.—Vehicle onboard maintenance reminders help drivers remember oil changes but often other maintenance items are overlooked, according to a survey of AAA Inc.'s nationwide network of Approved Auto Repair shops. Eighty-eight percent of repair shops surveyed said motorists frequently skip brake fluid service, AAA said.
Other commonly missed items included proper battery checks (according to 82 percent of respondents), transmission fluid maintenance (81 percent), tire maintenance (78 percent) and engine coolant (77 percent).
“The expansion of onboard maintenance reminder systems—which often cover oil-change services—appears to help consumers stay on track with oil maintenance,” said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair. “Many important services that are not typically detailed by those systems are often missed by consumers.”
Today's engineering advancements require less maintenance at less frequent intervals, according to AAA, with oil-change intervals now recommended at 5,000 to 10,000 or more miles, transmission fluids designed to last 100,000 miles and sealed batteries that never need to have fluid added. However, there is no longer a “standard” maintenance schedule for other services, such as brake fluid, AAA said.
And many vehicle reminder systems do not specifically cover maintenance operations that need to be performed on a time or mileage basis, such as brake fluid and coolant flushes or timing-belt replacement.
“Poor maintenance of brake fluid is a critical safety concern. All brake fluid attracts moisture, which can cause the fluid to perform poorly. Lack of maintenance can lead to contaminated fluid, corroded parts and increased stopping distance,” said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering.
“Motorists may not be aware of maintenance requirements for brake fluid, or their vehicle's manufacturer may not recommend a specific interval for replacing the fluid.”