As a car owner there’s certain convenience to being able to drive around for work or pleasure, but in order to enjoy a smooth, comfortable ride without a dreadful breakdown every now and then, your car needs proper maintenance. This doesn’t mean spending all your weekends under the hood looking measuring fluids and looking for leakages; just periodic vehicle maintenance is enough to keep things working at their best.
Some of the reasons why many people tend to ignore car maintenance until the engine stops is the cost that comes with repairs; not to mention the time and hassle. But even so, car ownership doesn’t have to be a nightmare every time you drive into a workshop; just find a mechanic you trust and create a schedule for maintenance.
So what are the benefits of periodic vehicle maintenance?
1. Maintains the value of your car
Unless you’re driving a classic limited edition, your car is likely losing value at a fast rate, and when it comes time to sell or trade for another car at the dealership, you’ll wish you hadn’t dented it so many times. The overall condition of a secondhand car can impact its value by a large sum, and that’s something you can control by establishing a maintenance program. When you spend money on maintenance you will be motivated to take proper care of the car.
2. Enhances reliability
As a trusted car owner you wouldn’t want your vehicle to underperform because you’re not taking good care of it- that would be a bad impression on you. Neglecting the recommended maintenance will invariably have a negative effect on any machine, not just your car. However routine tune-ups and even a regular oil change can make a great difference in the long run.
When you consider environmental effects, a poorly maintained car does more to pollute the environment than a clean, well preserved car. Check smoke emissions and fuel use to see how your car is contributing to pollution.
3. Its cost-effective
Regular inspection and tune-ups actually save you money in the long run because a vehicle in good condition will perform better and will need fewer repairs. In addition, fuel consumption is heavily influenced by the condition of the car, which is to say you can’t save money by not fixing your car.
When buying a new car, be sure to check what the manufacturer says about maintenance costs, and find out whether you can afford to keep it in good condition.
4. It’s a way to prevent future problems
The single best thing about performing regular maintenance for your car is the fact that it allows you and your mechanic to spot problems before they get too serious. As with any machine, a car breaks down gradually, and a small problem can evolve into a complicated mess needing large sums of money to repair. That is exactly why industry experts encourage car owners to be more involved in the maintenance of their vehicles.
Minor problems like a coolant leak from a loose hose connection can get more serious; for instance if the hose disconnects the engine will overheat due to lack of coolant. One sure way to avoid this is to not ignore the check engine light when it flickers.
5. Ensure family safety
Nobody wants to have their family travel in an unsafe car, especially during bad weather or when travelling long distances. The tires are particularly susceptible to wear and tear, and if you don’t have traction when driving on bad roads, that would jeopardize your safety and that of everybody travelling with you.
If you insist on regular oil changes, fluid top-offs, filter changes, tire rotation and pressure checks, your car will have excellent fuel economy and performance will be optimal. Remember to keep all documentation relating to regular maintenance, in addition to any other repairs or upgrades done on the side, as these will help prevent redundant repairs.
Keep it clean
If other drivers on the road are noticing dirt on your car, then it’s time you cleaned the car. Cleaning the car also helps get rid of buildup that can damage paint. Salt and sand tend to accumulate on the exterior during winter and it needs to be washed off before it forms a thick ugly layer on your paintjob.
Likewise, the interior also needs to be vacuumed once in a while, and more often if you have kids and pets, or if you like to eat in the car.
Talk to your mechanic
Most car manufacturers will include details of the maintenance schedule on their website and the car manual but if you feel the need to consult a third party on this, there are good reliable car experts who can advise you depending on the type of car you drive.
Find the best garage near you and stick with one or two mechanics
This sound obvious but you may not realize how easy it is to get duped or overcharged when you keep hopping from one mechanic to the next. It doesn’t make sense to do that unless you’re travelling across the country. Also, mechanics can unwittingly misdiagnose problems with your car- but that would be harder to do if the mechanic had a working knowledge of your particular car and driving habits.
What to look for in a repair shop
If you get that sneaky suspicion that you are paying to fix something that is unnecessary or for one reason or another you don’t like the service at your local garage, then it’s time to get another place. The first thing you want to avoid when dealing with mechanics is the usual scare tactics. Usual warnings include “I wouldn’t drive this another kilometer”: in that case just look for another mechanic.
Good repair shops have all relevant licensing and positive reviews; and at least one person who can vouch for them. Check online to see which shops are best for your car model and make sure to compare costs between different shops- but don’t automatically go for the cheapest, as that may prove to be a liability at some point.