As the weather starts to warm up, Americans will hit the road more often for destinations ranging from family outings to spring vacation destinations. Because cars are such an important part of our daily lives, Hankook Tire examined what drives Americans to keep up with car maintenance, as well as what matters when maintenance can do no more and it’s time to visit the dealership.
Leave it to me
Two-thirds (69 percent) of drivers perform their own car maintenance, according to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge survey. Among those who do so, the main motivator is to save money (54 percent). Others like doing it to save time (28 percent), because they prefer knowing exactly what’s going into their vehicles (26 percent), or it’s a fun task for some who simply enjoy it (22 percent). In fact, about one-third (35 percent) of drivers started taking responsibility for car maintenance as soon as they earned their licenses.
The air in the spare
When asked the most elaborate car maintenance they’ve performed without help from a mechanic, most Americans said that they have either changed the oil (21 percent) or changed a tire (21 percent). But being able to change your own tire won’t do much good if the spare doesn’t have any air in it! Twenty-nine percent of Americans never check their spare tire’s air pressure, which could be deflating if it’s flat too. Fortunately, checking the air in the spare is part of a regular maintenance routine for more than half of drivers (57 percent).
Generally, Americans agree that they welcome a nudge to check their tire pressure, and 44 percent say that automatic tire pressure monitors ensure they check it regularly. Experts suggest checking your tire pressure once a month. Even new tires with minimal wear and tear lose air due to factors like temperature change, driving distance or carrying added weight in your vehicle. Now is a good time to check your air pressure, as temperature fluctuations reduce tire pressure by about 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the outside air temperature drops.
Should the time come to purchase new tires, money talks. The Hankook Tire Gauge Index found that price influences nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of tire purchases, and similarly, 38 percent of drivers report that rebates, like Hankook Tire's Great Catch rebate, also impact their purchase decision. When it comes to the brand, however, drivers maintain an open mind. While nearly half of drivers (43 percent) say they have a brand in mind when they enter the dealership, they are flexible on what they ultimately buy — only 16 percent of Americans go into the dealer set on a particular brand.
Price also impacts vehicle purchases (41 percent). When shopping for a new car, drivers focus on price more than twice that of safety (18 percent) or performance (15 percent). And women are more price-conscious than men, as 45 percent of women consider the price when buying a new car, as opposed to only 37 percent of men.
Whether you are driven by price or performance, regular maintenance and vehicle knowledge is key to avoiding unexpected bumps in the road.