Do you dread taking your car to the mechanic for “routine maintenance?” We have all stood in the auto repair shop with the mechanic rattling off a list of recommended services. The price tags attached are all more than you were planning to spend today. Do you:
A. Trust your mechanic and have them do the work?
B. Do you save your money now, figuring your car will tell you when it has a problem?
If you chose option B, you wouldn’t be the only one. Many people distrust their car mechanic. Their lack of expertise in car maintenance can make them skeptical. They may fear spending too much money addressing potential issues that don’t appear to be affecting their car’s performance. However, passing on these routine maintenance issues can be a significant mistake.
Investing in the Future
Car maintenance services are often referred to as preventative because they prevent problems further down the road. Understanding how your Farmington or Sugar House auto repair store’s services prevent you from having car trouble in the future can be helpful. You may find that the benefits of maintaining your vehicle far outweigh the cost to your bank account.
- Maintain Car Value – When people shop for a new car, the Carfax report is one of the first pieces of information that they look for. They want to know what type of condition the car is in. Has it ever been in an accident? Was the oil changed regularly? Shoppers want to know if they are inheriting problems as a result of the previous owner’s negligence. Taking your car into the shop for regular tune-ups will keep your vehicle’s value high and ensure it is a high-demand used vehicle, should you decide to sell it.
- Fewer Repairs – We all know the sinking feeling you get when you find out that your car needs a major repair. Your first thought is likely, ‘How much is it going to cost?’ It is no secret that car repairs can be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the part being replaced and the labor involved in the repair. Preventative car maintenance always costs less, and it keeps these expensive parts operating longer.
- Increased Safety – All too often, accidents happen on the roads because of preventable driving conditions. Driving on bald tires in rain or snow decreases the driver’s ability to control the direction and speed of the vehicle. Likewise, a burned-out headlight may impair the driver’s ability to see and respond quickly to obstacles on the road. The car is more likely to perform as expected and keep occupants safe if it is properly maintained.
- Less Time in the Shop – Taking your car into the shop is rarely convenient. However, taking it in before it has a significant problem allows you to choose the time and the day. Cars have a nasty habit of breaking down at the most inconvenient time, sometimes leaving you stranded. Your time is precious, and you remain in charge of how it gets used when you decide where and when repairs are performed on your vehicle.
Regular Maintenance Items
Every car manufacturer will have different recommendations for caring for and maintaining their vehicles. It is best to consult your car manual or a trusted mechanic to learn what your specific car needs. However, there are several maintenance services that every motorist should have done on their vehicle regularly.
- Tire Rotation – Your tires are your connection with the road. You might think that because you bought them all at the same time, that they should all last for the same number of miles. In a perfect world, you might be right. However, tires on a car do not wear the same. In a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the front tires exert more force on the road and tend to wear down faster. Tires on one side of the vehicle often exhibit a different wear pattern than those on the other side. Rotating the tires about every six months or 6,000 miles ensures that all four tires wear at the same rate and wear evenly.
- Oil and Filter Change – The oil in your car is vital to preserving the life of your engine. It lubricates the engine, reducing friction between the moving parts. Over time, the oil gets dirty and doesn’t lubricate the engine as well. As friction increases, the engine is more likely to overheat. Moving parts may also begin to wear on each other leading to costly repairs or a full engine replacement. Determining how often your oil needs to be changed depends on the type of oil. Conventional oil should be changed every 3-5,000 miles, while fully synthetic oils may last up to 10,000 miles. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation for your oil and vehicle type.
- Battery Test – If your car battery is less than three years old, it is less likely to cause problems. However, as car batteries age, they lose their ability to hold a charge. If your battery is more than a few years old, you should have your mechanic test it regularly to make sure it is still strong enough to start your car. Jumping your car late at night or in a snowstorm is never fun.
Car maintenance may not be at the top of your list of things to do, especially when your car seems to be fine. However, the longer you procrastinate its upkeep, the more likely you are to run into problems – the very problems that you could have taken simple steps to prevent. Stay safe this holiday season by taking care of your car now.