Be careful to pay attention to that reminder phone call or email from your trusted auto service technician, or the next oil change sticker on your windshield. Studies conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) concluded that ignoring it will likely cost you money. Studies show that vehicle owners who follow the prescribed maintenance schedule for their car have lower repair costs over the lifetime of the automobile and that following the recommended service schedule lowers the average cost of an owners visit to the repair shop by about $100 per visit according to the AAA.
Pressure to improve the reliability and quality of automobiles has done a lot to lower owner’s repair costs, but at the same time it has also driven up the length of time owners are keeping their vehicles. Consumers are driving their vehicles 26 months longer than they were in 2006 according to Aftermarket News. Their findings suggest that a significant number of cars on the road surpass the 11.6-year-old mark. A growing percentage of vehicles on the road are significantly older than decades ago. The report suggests nearly 120 million cars and trucks running on the highway range from 6 to 14 years old.
They may be making vehicles more reliable these days, but I wouldn’t cancel your roadside assistance plan just yet. As AAA has noted they have towed more than two million vehicles for engine failure and nearly another 600,000 for transmission failure. The most common problems were low tire pressure and brake problems. The costs of an engine repair or transmission rebuild are two of the highest priced items automobile owners must face. Ironically regular maintenance can detect pending issues with both areas and significantly reduce the out of pocket repair expense to owners.
The issue many vehicles owners report once their vehicle is over the warranty is finding a competent and honest technician for the older vehicle. It can be a difficult task but having a reliable maintenance plan with reputable auto service centers, like Driven Automotive, is cheaper in the long run and worth the time it takes to find one.
Driven Automotive and other quality shops will make recommendations on how to keep your vehicle in top working condition based on facts provided by the manufacturer of your vehicle. A classic example is the age-old notion that oil changes are required every 3000 miles. That may not be the case. Depending on the make and model, as well as your driving habits, the interval can range from 5,000 or up to 10,000 miles. Additionally, unless you live in a dusty region your air filter is good for 7500-10000 miles.
Today’s cars also do a much better job of letting you know when something is going wrong. Many vehicles have a wide array of sensors designed to let you know something is malfunctioning. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore these.
The old notion that when money is tight maintenance is the first thing to be cut is true, but still costly. When it comes to vehicles, fixing small problems now saves big problems and more expensive problems later.
By Jamie Barrie