Anytime of year can be the right time to get your car in tip-top shape. Experts know that a top-notch pit crew can make the difference between winning or being an also-ran-even if you're just getting ready for the next family trip. That's why it's important to remember that not all auto repair technicians are created equal.
Just ask Todd Berrier, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevy Monte Carlo SS. "It's my job to make sure Kevin (Harvick's) car is in perfect working condition at every race," said Berrier.
He recommends having a trained technician "sweat the details" like he does and inspect the following before you hit the road:
Tire pressure: About 20 percent of cars inspected in check lanes during National Car Care Month have under inflated tires, which can result in blowouts and serious accidents. Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). In addition, low tire pressure can reduce gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.
Wipers: Generally, wipers should be replaced every six months, ideally in the spring and fall, making now the perfect time to take a look at them. Also, make sure the windshield washers work properly and keep the washer fluid reservoir full.
Lubricants and Fluids: Nearly 30 percent of vehicles failed inspections as a result of too little, too much or dirty motor oil, and 26 percent had low, overfull or burnt transmission fluid. Twenty-one percent had low or dirty power steering fluid, 23 percent had low or contaminated brake fluid, and 18 percent failed the washer fluid inspection. Improper fluid levels affect your vehicle's safety and can damage vehicle components.
Parts: It is important to have items such as belts and hoses regularly inspected and replaced with the right parts when needed. Genuine GM replacement parts, for example, are manufactured to the same specifications of the company's vehicles. A broken belt or ruptured hose can cause costly engine damage and travel delays.
"Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections can help improve a vehicle's fuel efficiency, achieve peak performance and even help avoid major repairs down the road," said Peter Lord, executive director, GM Service Operations.
Lord also emphasizes the importance of technician training when it comes to getting superior maintenance.
For instance, according to federal statistics and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), only about half of the 820,000 auto service technicians in the U.S. are certified by ASE, an industry-recognized leader in technician certification.
He points out that not only are GM Goodwrench technicians ASE-certified-and recertified every five years-they receive additional training beyond the ASE requirements.
These technicians are prepped to maintain and repair GM vehicles with a full line of products for one-stop service at over 7,000 GM dealership locations nationwide.