KIRO NEWSRADIO

CarFax: Wash. drivers behind on their routine car maintenance

Oct 30, 2023, 4:47 PM | Updated: 5:20 pm

Cars in snow...

It's time to get your cars ready for winter weather. CarFax says we are behind. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A new release from CarFax said Americans are behind on important car maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.

Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen said one in five owners is behind on both services.

“As we get into the holidays, what you don’t want is your family to be stranded on the side of the road because your engine has frozen up or slide off the road because your tires are bald or misaligned,” Olsen explained. “So there’s a real reason here to keep your current maintenance up to date, both for your pocketbook and for your family’s safety.”

More on WA roads: 3 killed in wrong-way I-90 crash on Mercer Island

If you don’t rotate your tires, they can wear unevenly. This can create a rough and potentially unstable driving surface. It can also decrease your safety on the road. For example, uneven tire wear can lead to, heat buildup, Hydroplaning, poor traction in snow and ice and an increased risk of punctures and blowouts.

Washington is in the ‘below average group’ which means we aren’t the worst but we aren’t the best either.

Olsen said to “check your tire pressure. As we go from warm weather to cold, the rubber tire will contract at different speeds and that means a lot of air goes out of your tires. And that is another unsafe situation.”

In the state of Washington, Olsen explained there are lots of windy roads, and you don’t want to wind up running off of them because your tires have become bald.

“The reality is that your tires are the four pieces of your car that actually touch the road,” Olsen explained. “And so if they were unevenly inflated they could become bald. If they become degraded in any way, you’re putting your family at risk.”

Changing your oil regularly is important as well

“About 31% of drivers are behind on an oil change, 47% are behind on a tire rotation, and 23% are behind on both,” Olsen said. “So there’s definitely room to improve up in Washington.”

He said it’s crucial that we check our oil regularly.

Oil changes are important for many reasons, including:

  • Engine performance: Fresh oil lubricates metal parts, improving engine performance.
  • Engine longevity: Clean oil prevents engine parts from wearing down and breaking.
  • Gas mileage: Clean oil helps the engine run more efficiently, using less gas.
  • Engine cooling: Oil draws heat away from engine components, keeping the engine running at optimal temperatures.
  • Environmental protection: Changing your oil on time can help you pass emissions tests and pollute less.
  • Resale value: Consistent oil changes can increase your car’s value.

More Micki Gamez: With holidays approaching, people are struggling to decide to travel home

In the same way, oil changes are crucial to keeping your engine running right. Olsen said, “What you don’t want to do is make the trip from Seattle out to Spokane and end up being stuck in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road because your engine blew up on (Interstate 90).”

CarFax called out drivers in Alaska, West Virginia, Maine, Rhode Island and Mississippi as the “service slackers.” Those owners are the most likely to have missed their important maintenance dates. On the other side, the company praised the “maintenance mavens,” who are at the other end of the spectrum. They get the work done in a more timely fashion than the average American car owner. Those drivers live in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah, Nevada and Virginia.

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CarFax: Wash. drivers behind on their routine car maintenance