For many of us, the saying “money doesn’t grow on trees” rings all too true. There are months in which the budget gets so tight that you might wonder how you’re going to pay the bills. Sometimes these money shortages cause us to put off important things. When you have other expenses to worry about, maintaining your vehicle gets put on the back burner.
Oil changes get delayed, auto shop checkups get postponed and various other routine maintenance items get neglected. While it may feel like you’re saving money at the time, in the long run you will probably be faced with some bigger auto bills.
Statistics on Vehicle Maintenance
In 2004, Car Care Council, an advocacy group in Bethesda, Maryland, conducted a study and concluded that poorly maintained vehicles cause thousands of wrecks per year, resulting in costs of over $2 billion. Even if you avoid accidents due to a poorly maintained car, you are still most likely shortening the lifespan of your vehicle by avoiding routine maintenance.
“If you don’t maintain your car, you’re taking a vehicle that might have been driven for 200,000 miles over its life and you’re knocking it down to maybe 150,000 miles,” said Philip Reed, a senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com.
Common Maintenance Issues to Watch Out For
Below is a last of common maintenance issues you should take care of now in order to avoid hefty car bills down the road:
- Tire rotations. A tire rotation is recommended every 7,500 miles unless your owner’s manual suggests differently. Moving tires from front to back and back to front helps to wear them equally. Not doing so will require you to replace your tires more often.
- Brake inspections. Brakes should be inspected at least once a year for worn down brake disc pads and shoes. If you wait too long, you could end up spending much more on rotor or disc replacements.
- Oil changes. The oil in your car should be changed approximately every 5,000 miles or four months unless your owner’s manual indicates otherwise. The oil in your vehicle helps to keep your engine clean and lubricated. Dirty oil can spell disaster for your car. Oil changes in a year should range between $120 and $150 unless you are using synthetic oil, which costs more.
- Timing belt replacement. Check your owner’s manual to see how often a replacement is suggested. If the timing belt breaks, your car will shut off. In this case, you’re lucky if all you need is a new belt. Sometimes a broken timing belt damages the car so badly that an engine replacement is necessary.
- PCV valve replacement. The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system helps prevent engine oil leaks and sludge build-up by regulating the crank case pressure and ventilating blow by gases. The replacement part is generally less than $30 and should be replaced every 30,000 miles.
- Plug and filter changes. Changing plugs and filters is one of the easiest ways to maintain your vehicle, help it to pass emissions, and keep it running properly for the long haul.
It’s easy for all of us to procrastinate due to finances. However, the best way to save money is to know the requirements for properly maintaining your car. Educate yourself and find a reliable, affordable mechanic or dealership to help you perform the necessary maintenance that your car requires.
At Callaway Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, our ASE-certified technicians are fully prepared to perform routine maintenance and auto repairs on your vehicle. We fix all makes and models, so bring your car down to our Fulton auto shop for service you can trust!