There are many reasons why people delay automotive maintenance services on their vehicles. It may be the cost, can’t find the time, or perhaps the vehicle owner does not feel that the recommended services will have a real impact on vehicle performance or safety.
Whatever the reason, as an automotive professional veteran with more than 45 years’ experience, I can say with complete confidence that delaying certain automotive services may end up costing you more money in the long term. Even worse, it may also become a safety concern.
Below is a list of vehicle maintenance services that should not be delayed, with the reasons why these services are important:
- The Oil Change Service: Delaying or extending your oil change service will cause a buildup of sludge inside your engine, which may shorten the life of your engine, which may result in costly, extensive engine repairs.
- Tire Rotations: Performing routine tire rotations extend the life of your tires, which saves you money. It also maintains overall vehicle driving performance.
- Wheel Alignment: Performing a wheel alignment with a new set of tires will protect your investment by extending the life of your tires. The wheel alignment should also be checked at least every other year, more often if you drive on roads filled with potholes.
- Scheduled Factory Services: Every vehicle manufacturer has a schedule to check certain systems, fluids, and other components at different mileage intervals. This protects your vehicle, maintains your new-car warranty, and maintains overall vehicle performance. This reduces the chances of a breakdown or mechanical failures.
- Timing Belt: If your car’s engine has a timing belt, it must be replaced at the recommended mileage interval. The timing belt is located internally, and if it breaks, it can cause extensive and costly engine damage.
- Car Battery: Car batteries usually last four to six years and may fail without warning. If your car battery is more than four years old, have it tested ASAP. A weak battery will put an extra load on the car’s electric system, which may damage the alternator (the alternator is the component that recharges the battery). Don’t get stuck on the side of the road. Replace your car battery, if needed.
- Check Engine light and other dashboard warning lights: Dashboard warning lights are designed to alert the driver of a potential and/or dangerous situation. DO NOT delay on this. If your car has an illuminated dash warning light, contact your automotive service professional today. Ignoring a warning light will lead to other engine or safety related problems and will cost more money and inconvenience in the long term.
- Tires: Perhaps the most important safety component on your car, aside from the brakes, are your tires. Have your tires inspected every year and replaced before it becomes a safety concern.
- A word about auto lease vehicles: There is a perception that lease cars don’t need as much servicing since the car is being returned at the end of the lease. Whether you own your car or lease it, for your safety and the safety of your family, there are certain maintenance services that must be performed. Discuss this with your service professionals. They will guide you and give you the best advice on how to properly care for your lease car in order to have safe and reliable transportation, in a cost-effective manner.
The bottom line is this: A well-maintained car is safer, will decrease the chances of an inconvenient mechanical breakdown and will lower the overall costs of owning your automobile.
Whether you lease or own your vehicle, perform the needed maintenance services as recommended. The benefits are in your favor and you’ll save money with a lot less aggravation in the long term.