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Regular maintenance of your automobile will help save you both time and money

May 11, 2005 - Many of today's women are on the move.

They work full time, they take their children to day care and after-school activities-and a lot of women have the additional responsibility of being the household "car-care manager."

Research by the Car Care Council shows that women represent 60 percent of automotive service customers in North Amer-ica. Women spend more than $300 billion annually on vehicle maintenance, repairs and used vehicles, according to American Woman Road and Travel.

Fortunately, even the busiest women may be able to save time-and keep their families safe-by getting regular vehicle inspections and maintenance work done.

That's one reason automotive experts en-courage regular maintenance inspections that can point out items needing service to help a vehicle run better, last longer, retain its value and provide optimal safety and security.

Tips from experts include:

• Batteries: A weak battery can leave you stranded — possibly at the worst time and place.

• Brakes: An expert inspection can determine whether your brakes are functioning properly with full braking capability.

• Windshield wipers: Old or worn windshield wipers can lead to poor visibility in adverse weather conditions.

• Headlamps: Properly aimed headlamps are a must for optimizing your visibility — both your seeing and your being seen.

• Oil: Change your oil and filter at intervals recommended in your owner's manual to minimize engine wear and reduce the possibility of internal damage.

• Fluid levels: Improper fluid levels — including coolant, oil, power steering, transmission, brake fluid and even washer solvent — can negatively affect vehicle durability, performance and safety.

• Belts and hoses: A broken belt or ruptured hose can cause costly engine damage and travel delays.

Women on the move

So just how busy are today's women?

According to the U.S. Department of La-bor's Bureau of Labor Statistics:

• In 2002, nearly four in every five mothers of school-aged children were in the paid workforce.

• In 2003, there were 3.7 million female multiple jobholders.

• The number of working women has grown from 18.4 million in 1950 to nearly 65 million in 2003.

In addition, the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organiza-tions reports that 63 percent of women work 40 or more hours per week.

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