Are Americans prioritizing car care?

Most Americans feel confident in their ability to assess their vehicle’s needs, but they aren’t the ones to notice when they need car maintenance

How sure are you that your car is safe to drive?

Eight in 10 Americans feel confident in their ability to tell when their vehicle needs maintenance—but most (61%) admit that others notice their car issues first. In a recent survey of 2,000 car owners, three in five said someone else will point out their vehicle needs upkeep.

The first one to notice their car needs a little TLC? A partner (55%) or a parent (47%), followed by a mechanic or vehicle inspector (29%).

Ahead of Car Care Month in April, OnePoll conducted research on our behalf to understand how driving challenges and vehicle maintenance needs change depending on where you live.

Regardless of location, the majority (55%) agreed that snowstorms are the worst weather to drive in, and potholes were found to be the most common road obstacle for all drivers (53%).

When driving in challenging road conditions, people tend to worry about their tires (45%), brakes (41%), and battery (38%).

Survey results identified key differences in the car maintenance habits and driving preferences across each region.

In the Midwest, drivers are most likely to forget to replace their windshield wipers (35%). Drivers in the Northeast don’t always change their brakes (38%), and Southeasterners were found to overlook a battery performance check (36%).

Twenty-seven percent voted spring as the best season for driving, with summer as the runner-up (23%). Midwestern drivers also favored the summer much more so than those in the Southwest (29 vs. 14%).

On average, seasonal car repairs rack up $1,772 per year for American car owners.

Forgetting to fix post-winter issues (28%) and prepare cars for the fall season (34%) may contribute to this cost. Worn-out tires also contribute to these expenses, as 31% of drivers admit to overlooking their timely replacement.

As for the spring and summer, commonly reported problems include worn windshield wipers (33%), a broken A/C unit (32%), and a broken drive belt (32%).

"Both routine and seasonal maintenance are important in keeping your vehicle functioning safely," said our resident tire expert and COO Josh. "Ahead of the spring months, test your battery to make sure it hasn’t lost any power, and inspect your entire vehicle, including windshield wipers, brakes and tires, for any post-winter damage."

Forty-five percent said their routine vehicle maintenance is usually done by a local provider, while 40% rely on their own expertise.

Most drivers (74%) highly prioritize car maintenance, with 71% primarily doing so to extend the lifetime of their vehicle and 70% to also ensure themselves and their family's road safety. Those who don't place car maintenance at the top of their to-do list (more than 500 car owners) said it's too expensive, and that they’d rather spend their money on other things (35%).

"Saving money on vehicle repairs can be as simple as making sure your tires are properly inflated, which can extend their average life by 4,700 miles," the spokesperson added. "Making sure your tires are rotated, balanced, and aligned can also help prevent potential accidents."


  • Check battery performance (34%)
  • Replace windshield wipers (34%)
  • Brakes replacement (33%)
  • Check coolant levels (32%)
  • Tire replacement (31%)
  • Tire rotation (28%)
  • Check transmission fluid (27%)
  • Change oil and oil filter (26%)
  • Inspect shocks and struts (21%)
  • Inspect turn signals and parking lights (14%)

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 American car owners ages 20–65 was commissioned by SimpleTire between February 4 and February 8, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public