May 21, 2024

Why Neglecting Your Car Upkeep Can Be a Costly Mistake

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What would the world today be like without cars? They’ve allowed people to travel long distances in a relatively short amount of time, given us a more personalized way to travel, and give us the freedom to make our own schedules, independent of bus or train times. Certainly cars have come with their own set of problems, but they’ve revolutionized the way human beings get around. Around 95% of American households own a car and the average is 1.8 cars per person. If you’re part of that 95%, you know the power of a car — and also the price to keep it well maintained. A person’s first big loan is usually taken out for a car and it’s important to keep your car as well maintained as possible in order to maximize its lifespan. If you’ve purchased used cars, this is even more important, as the vehicle has already experienced some wear and tear.
What’s the Cost of Maintenance?
There are some standard things you want to be checking regularly for your own safety and for the car’s health. These things include checking fluid levels (antifreeze, power steering, cooling, even windshield wiper fluid), oil levels, and car battery. You should replace your air filters and oil as recommended, and make sure your tires are rotated and realigned regularly as well. Even though all these little check-ups cost you money along the way, they’ll actually save you money in the long run. The maintenance cost on average in 2012 was about $5,371, although this didn’t include car insurance expenses or auto repair service policies. Although it sounds like a lot of money right up front, you’d spend way more than that if something serious had to be replaced or fixed in your car because you weren’t taking care of it regularly.
Is There a Time Frame For When I Should Be Checking These Things?
Auto dealers will usually include an owner’s manual that can offer suggested times/amount of miles accrued to check on certain parts of your vehicle. Do make sure you check the most up to date information though, since some can be seriously outdated. For example, it used to be recommended that car owners change their oil every 3,000 miles. Today, oil technology has changed so much that it’s no longer really necessary to do it every 3,000 miles. Plus, some cars now have oil life monitors that can automatically tell when an oil change is required. They’ll alert you ahead of time.
Regarding tire rotation and alignment, experts suggest that your tires should get realigned every 6,000 miles, or whenever you get your oil changed. (That’s a good physical marker.) Tire rotation should be completed every 7,500 miles — more or less, depending on the recommendation of the car manufacturer. (Naturally, each manufacturer will have slightly different guidelines for their vehicles.)
Brakes are super important to stay on top of! You can cause some serious accidents if your brakes aren’t working. It’s estimated that your brakes should last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 miles, but obviously if something seems amiss, you shouldn’t waste any time in going to get them replaced.
In terms of replacing vehicle belts, this should be done periodically as well, to avoid car breakdowns. In almost 20% of all vehicles inspected, at least one belt was declared unsatisfactory and over 15% of the cars inspected needed at least one new hose. According to the Car Care Council, it’s recommended that you replace your timing belts between the 60,000 to 90,000 mile mark, but to once again check your owner’s manual for specifics.
Lastly, investing in a wax coat for your vehicle can protect your paint job from oxidizing or becoming contaminated. You should have it reapplied at least two times a year for optimal protection. It’ll keep the outside of your car looking shiny and new, and will also prevent rusting.
Upkeep of your vehicle is more important than some people think. Neglecting your car can be incredibly costly in the long run. It’s better to spend a little money now and save a bundle in the future.

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