With summer now in full swing, the call of the open road and weekend road trips is as loud, clear and persistent as a car horn. Gas prices, car payments and insurance all add up, so it may be tempting to skimp on servicing your vehicle. But this is a temptation that is best avoided because servicing your vehicle at the recommended intervals is a wise investment that will save you time, money and headaches later on down the road. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
One way to think of the cost of servicing your vehicle is that each maintenance appointment is a small investment in your car’s future that offsets the cost of major repairs and breakdowns at a later date. For many of us, coming up with the money to service our vehicle at the correct time is a doable proposition, but the cost of a disastrous unexpected repair while on the road can be difficult or impossible to afford. This way, with relatively minor incremental preventative investments paid along the way, your vehicle will stay fresh and well-preserved without costing you any extraneous or unnecessary expenditure. If you pay attention, you can be sure that the money you do invest in your car is well spent.
Today’s vehicles are made better, with more durable parts, smarter internal systems and better designed functionality, so certain “old rules” such as getting an oil change every 3,000 miles can largely be overlooked. As always, let your car’s service or owner’s manual dictate the frequency and depth of maintenance that your car should receive. Oftentimes, dealerships and oil change shops will try to upsell customers on expensive and extensive service packages that benefit the dealer, not necessarily you as the driver. While it is solid advice that regular oil changes and tire rotations are worthwhile to increase fuel efficiency, safety and gas tank range, these “XXX,000 mile” service packages are often overkill when basic maintenance would suffice.
Today’s vehicles are simply made differently than in years past. Gone are the quirky mechanical systems that were often pesky to pin down, and now the majority of automotive systems are computerized. As convenient as this may well be, it does sometimes pose a problem to the automotive consumer when everything to do with maintenance is automated. Computer car system reports may seem to present problems in a black or white light, when often the decision to pull the trigger on a maintenance issue exists somewhere in a gray area. Remember, no matter what a service manager or technician may tell you, defer to your owner’s manual for servicing information, unless circumstance or common sense dictates otherwise. This will ensure that you and your car are safe, ready and raring to go on that fun summer road trip you have planned!