Saying Skip It to Vehicle Maintenance
Common Vehicle Maintenance Requirements.
The current car owner’s manual is relatively easier to understand, yet it still ranks up there with the website terms and conditions in the category of the “most neglected documents.” That is why most service department advisors take the time to point out the required repairs and maintenance to nearly every client who visits them.
Often, car owners on a tight budget are tempted to delay an appointment to an auto repair shop or even skip some routine vehicle maintenance services. However, poorly maintained cars cause numerous wrecks every year.
Even if you’re very lucky to avoid a crash, dismissing your vehicle’s routine maintenance may lower the lifespan of your car. Also, the real cost of failing to maintain your car may increase the cost of repairs for failed emission tests, bad brakes, or even a failed engine.
Without further ado, let’s look some of the standard maintenance requirements for cars and the costly problems which may occur if not considered.
1. Tire Rotations
Many drivers think that skipping a few tire rotations will cause premature wear on the front rubbers of a four-wheel drive car. They would be right, but two major problems which don’t always come to mind are chopped wear patterns on the rear tires and the noise produced when tires rotated to the front.
Most front-drivers (particularly minivans) have rear suspensions which only get a real work-out when one or two occupants are in the car. That means the rear tires will take more of a beating then the springs and shocks. Thus, causing an irregular wear pattern on the interior part of the tread face.
Unfortunately, when those tires make to the front, they’ll create a droning noise, loud enough to make you want to play your music loud to drown it out. If you rotate tires as recommended, you will not hear any disturbing noise from them.
2. Engine Oil Changes
Although this one might appear to be a no-brainer to many drivers, you would be surprised at the number of engines which develop problems due to lack of fresh oil. Several modern engines use a lot of lightweight aluminum and alloys as well as narrow oil passages.
If you leave engine oil to its own devices for an extended period, it can form a sludge which may block passages. Thus starving specific internal components that require a high amount of lubricant.
Leading to high oil consumption, surface scoring, and bearing failures just to name a few. If you need engine repair under the warranty of the car manufacturer, you’ll be asked to produce a complete set of routine maintenance invoices showing that your vehicle did not miss any oil changes and that the recommended grade of oil used.
3. Replacement Of Coolant
This chemical has evolved more than any other fluid under the hoods of our cars. Even though the use of plain, the old green-glycol mix isn’t popular nowadays, there is still a high number of cars which uses it.
Modern cars use a red or orange-colored long-lasting mix. No matter what your vehicle uses, it is following a proper replacement interval is imperative. It will create blockages in the HVAC heat exchange unit of the cabin (popularly known as a heater core) if not replaced for an extended period.
With time, it can also become acidic and deteriorate seals, gaskets, plastic and metal cooling system components. Luckily, flushing a blocked heater core to boost its performance is often cheap. But replacement of leaking cylinder head gaskets is quite expensive.
4. Transmission Fluid Changes
If you own a car fitted with any transmission, this high-priced and crucial component starts wearing off the day you drive it off the lot. That is why there is a magnet in the oil pan that collects any metal fillings and keep them out of the fluid. The transmission fluid in a car runs under very high temperatures. Due to age and continuous use of this fluid, it’ll quickly darken in color and takes on a toasty smell. If you skip the recommended fluid change, you will risk hydraulic control lock ups, internal clutch failures, and several other expensive repairs.
For a transmission with a cleanable or replaceable filter, it should be serviced during a fluid change to increase the life span of your gearbox and avoid wastage of money. Dropping the pan to replace the fluid and the filter will not help. With many automatics, this will only remove about half of the fluid.
A power flush should be carried out to change the entire volume of fluid. Perhaps, getting a fluid flush will worsen the situation if you have waited until you experience shifting problems and slippage.
Following vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for tire rotations, oil changes, and other routine checkups need relatively small upfront cost. Nonetheless, the benefits can pay off in the long term with an engine which operates well, better fuel economy and most importantly, a longer car life. So, if you think you can afford to skip these vehicle maintenance items, think again!