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Car Reminder Systems Prompting 51 Percent of Users to Perform Maintenance in New AAA Study

AAA Car Care Month study finds vehicle maintenance habits evolve in response to in-car reminder systems

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AAA has always advised motorists to follow automobile manufacturers' recommended maintenance schedules to improve the reliability and longevity of their vehicles. Today, most new automobiles have some form of in-car maintenance reminder system, and motorists are evolving to the new technologies seen in car care. According to a recent survey completed by AAA to gain perspective into motorists' vehicle maintenance habits, 63 percent of all motorists say they have a built-in electronic maintenance reminder system. Of these, 51 percent rely solely on their in-car reminder system and have maintenance work done only when the system recommends. 

"The advancements in modern maintenance reminder systems take the guess work out of deciding when to take your vehicle in for service," said John Nielsen, director of AAA Automotive Engineering and Repair. "The challenge now is educating consumers to trust that their vehicle will alert them when maintenance is needed."

Below are some key findings from a recent AAA Car Care Month study on vehicle owners' automotive maintenance habits:

  • Six out of ten motorists' (63 percent) have vehicles with a built-in electronic maintenance reminder system, not a window sticker, that alerts them when it is time to change the engine oil or have other maintenance work performed.
  • Five out of ten of these motorists (51 percent) rely solely on the reminder system and have maintenance work done only when the system reminds them to do so.
  • Thirty-five percent (35 percent) of respondents perform maintenance work more frequently than recommended by the reminder system and 13 percent do so less frequently.

To help motorists get the most out of their vehicles, and reduce maintenance-related problems in the future, AAA advises that motorists with in-car reminder systems should:

  • Become educated on what each maintenance alert means. The vehicle owner's manual and/or maintenance booklet can help decipher alerts and identify required actions.
  • Do not ignore the maintenance reminder system. Perform necessary maintenance when prompted by your vehicle. Ignoring alerts can increase wear and potentially cause long-term damage due to unaddressed maintenance or service issues.

If a vehicle is not equipped with a maintenance reminder system, the owner should:

  • Become educated on their vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule as described in the vehicle owner's manual and/or maintenance booklet.
  • Maintain their vehicle in accordance with the normal or severe-service maintenance schedule, as appropriate for their driving habits.

To demonstrate that all required work has been done to maintain warranty coverage, motorists should keep complete maintenance and repair records for reference should a warranty issue arise.

Whether you have an electronic in-car maintenance reminder system that alerts you when to perform routine service, or keep track of maintenance with a traditional time/mileage schedule, consider using a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop for all your maintenance and repair needs. AAA has inspected and certified nearly 8,000 repair shops across North America as a free public service for motorists. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can be identified by the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign, or by searching online at

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

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