Maintenance Ranks Low on List of Canadian Road Trip Rituals

National Canadian Tire survey reveals Canadian attitudes as drivers prepare to hit the road

  • Only half of Canadian drivers - and one third of drivers 18-34 - say vehicle maintenance is the most important thing they'll do before they hit the road
  • More Canadian parents are worried about driving with cranky kids than having their car break down

TORONTO, May 13, 2014 /CNW/ - For many Canadians, the end of snow and the return of warm weather means only one thing - it's road trip season.  From camping and cottage trips, to extended drives for visits with family and friends, Canadians are packing up their cars and getting ready to hit the road.  With the May long weekend - also known as the "unofficial start of road trip season" - fast approaching, Canadian Tire is reminding drivers to have their vehicles inspected before heading out, particularly after this year's long and punishing winter.

According to a national survey conducted on behalf of Canadian Tire, almost half of all respondents (47 per cent) confess that a maintenance check is not the most important thing they do before getting on the road, with drivers aged 18-34 being the group least likely to have their car inspected (33 per cent). And yet, most drivers surveyed claimed that their biggest concern was their vehicle breaking down on the way to their destination (24 per cent). Drivers aged 18-34 were also more concerned about stocking up on snacks before leaving (13 per cent vs. 5 per cent nationally).

"Without any doubt, the most effective way to stay safe on the road this summer and avoid any surprises is to ensure that your car is in good working order before your head out on a long road trip," said Graham Jeffrey, Associate Vice President, Automotive, Canadian Tire.  "So, if you don't want to find yourself on the side of the road dealing with a maintenance issue, think safety before snacks and hit your service centre."

In addition to lackluster safety habits, Canadian Tire's 2014 survey reveals that although Canadian drivers place a premium on comfort, they fail to recognize that one of the most effective ways to stay comfortable on long drives is to minimize car clutter and dirt. Despite wear and tear from this year's unrelenting winter, 56 per cent of respondents confessed to having never or only once in two months cleaned their car this winter, with parents of children under 18 admitting to being the worst offenders (66 per cent).  Inside the car, it's not much better, with 35 per cent of Canadian drivers describing themselves as "Casual Cup Holder Custodians," cleaning sporadically and focusing on tidying high traffic areas like cup holders, back seats and trunks.

Rounding out the list of road trip priorities is ensuring passengers, particularly kids, are well entertained. Unsurprisingly, parents travelling with children place a premium on a peaceful ride.  In fact, Canadian Tire's 2014 survey reveals that respondents with children under the age of 18 are more worried about their kids getting cranky en route (23 per cent) than whether or not their car will break down along the way (21 per cent).

How do drivers stay entertained? One in five say they've named their car, while 39 per cent also admit they've actually spent some time talking to their cars too. It could be the long prairie roads, but Albertan drivers are chattier than most when it comes to conversations with their car, at 51 per cent.

How to be Road Trip Ready

  • Conduct a pre-road trip safety check: this simple but crucial step includes verifying and replacing the following as needed: oil, oil filters, air filters, wiper blades, batteries, spark plugs, brakes, heating and cooling systems and suspensions.  Additionally, getting a good night sleep, sharing the driving responsibilities, using hands-free devices and making sure you have a roadside assistance kit on-hand are strongly recommended.
  • Clean for comfort: thorough indoor and outdoor car cleaning helps to remove months of accumulated salt and dirt, protecting cars from the heat of the sun and ensuring passengers aren't breathing in dust and dirt. For drivers with a lot to transport, storage solutions designed to minimize car clutter such as bike racks and rooftop cargo boxes make travel easier and more organized.  For longer or larger trips, consider using a trailer to bring everything you need to the campground.
  • Travelling with tots:  When travelling with kids, it's helpful to plan on the route taking longer taking into account the need for more frequent pit stops.  To minimize the need to pull over, stock up on snacks, drinks, and entertainment options such as games, music and movies for the car.  Antibacterial wipes, blankets and pillows are also good to have handy.

For more expect tips and tricks on safety, comfort and entertainment on the road, and information on products, please visit

About the Angus Reid Forum Methodology:
From April 4th, to April 10th, 2014 an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1015 Canadian adults age 18+ who own or lease a car or truck, and are also Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 3.08 %, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by age, gender, region and education (and in Quebec language) according to the most recent census data. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Canadian Tire Corporation
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited, (TSX:CTC.A) (TSX:CTC) or "CTC," is a family of businesses that includes a retail segment, a financial services division, CT REIT and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, CTC's affiliated national charity that is dedicated to removing financial barriers so kids across Canada can participate in sports and physical activities.  Our retail business is led by Canadian Tire, which was founded in 1922 and provides Canadians with products for life in Canada across its Living, Playing, Fixing, Automotive and Seasonal categories. PartSource and Gas+ are key parts of the Canadian Tire network. The retail segment also includes Mark's, a leading source for casual and industrial wear, and FGL Sports (Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, National Sports, Intersport, Pro Hockey Life and Atmosphere), which offers the best active wear brands. The nearly 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets are supported and strengthened by our Financial Services division and the approximately tens of thousands of people employed across the Company. For more information, visit


For further information:

Erin Voth
North Strategic

Kamila Karwowski
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited


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