Is Vehicle Maintenance Really Worth It?

Vehicle Maintenance, Oil Change, Tires, Fluids, Repair vs Replace

Is Vehicle Maintenance Really Worth It?

Vehicle Maintenance, Oil Change, Tires, Fluids, Repair vs ReplaceIf you have ever been faced with a costly vehicle service recommendation, you may have wondered if your car really needs it or not. I mean, it’s running perfectly fine, so why pay all the money for a service when there’s nothing wrong with your car now? Let’s break it down. Manufacturers provide you with vehicle maintenance guidelines for basic services (like oil change, fluids, and tires) and more involved repairs and replacements for components and systems (like transmission, fuel, and coolant systems).

Vehicle Maintenance is a well researched and complicated topic that your vehicle’s manufacturer spends tons of resources on. They want to make sure that their vehicles are affordable to buy and maintain, for individuals and fleets alike. That research is where the recommended time and mileage markers come from, found in your owner’s manual. 


Manufacturer Recommended Vehicle Maintenance

In general, the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule allows you to drive your car under normal conditions safely. Once you reach the mileage or time marker (whichever comes first), the recommended service should be performed to maintain the safety and performance of the vehicle. If you drive under more severe conditions (extreme heat and/or cold, heavy traffic, or tow heavy loads), you  may need to perform the maintenance earlier than recommended to keep your vehicle safe and performing well.

General Vehicle Maintenance

Sticking to the manufacturer suggested time/mileage markers for routine services is the wisest way to keep your vehicle running at its best. It also avoids the chance of voiding the manufacturer’s warranty for neglect. If you are wondering if you need to do the services earlier (or later) than suggested, talk it over with your trusted service station. A qualified technician can discuss your driving habits and help you make a schedule that works best for you.

Oil Change

Changing the oil and oil filter in your car is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to keep your vehicle running great. The oil in your engine can accumulate contaminants and turn to sludge. This dirty oil loses its ability to properly lubricate the engine’s many components and can cause costly repairs or replacements if left too long. This is a service that should never be skipped. 

Fluids and Filters

In addition to maintaining the oil, there are also other fluids and filters that should be checked frequently. The transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant/antifreeze should all be well maintained. It is a wise practice to flush and replace these fluids and replace filters when suggested per your owner’s manual, or if suggested by your service technician due to leaks, clogs, or damage.

The engine air filter should be checked and replaced when necessary. A dirty air filter can cause a myriad of issues with your engine and is an inexpensive part to replace. A cabin air filter affects not only the air quality inside your car, but it can improve the output of the air conditioning as well.

Wheels and Tires

I think we can all agree that replacing your tires can be a costly investment. The best way to make your tires last, is to do regular maintenance on them. Keeping your tires properly rotated and your wheels aligned can help prevent uneven tread wear. Checking and maintaining proper air pressure is also important to prolonging tire life. These services are not that expensive when done regularly (check your owner’s manual for the suggested time/mileage markers) and can save you money in the long run.

Repair vs. Replace

As your car ages, making decisions to perform costly repairs or replace it with a new car, can be stressful. Take some time to go over how much the repairs will cost and compare them to how much your car is worth. Good resources to consult for your car’s worth are Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds. They are impartial and unbiased.

A good rule of thumb, if your car is paid off, and the repair is less than half of your car’s worth, keep the car and pay for the repair. If the repair is going to cost you more than half of what the car is worth, then it may be time to upgrade to a new or certified pre-owned car.

Resale Values

Whether you plan on keeping your car forever, or plan to sell it (or trade it in) every 10 years, it is a good practice to keep all your service receipts in a safe place. If you do your own oil changes and filter replacements, keep a notebook of the service performed, the mileage, and the date (with the receipts).

This practice will increase the resale value of your vehicle, and show that it was well maintained throughout its life. It is also a great way to track how often services are performed, how much money you spend yearly on vehicle maintenance, and provide documentation for your taxes (if your vehicle is used for business).

Schedule Your Vehicle Maintenance

If you are looking for a quality service station to help you navigate your vehicle’s maintenance, visit Ron’s Garage. We specialize in brake repair, oil changes, tire replacement & repairs, diagnostic services, and general vehicle maintenance services on all makes/models. We’re your local total auto repair shop in Ann Arbor!

Make an Appointment

We would love to hear from you! Call us at (734) 961-4701 or visit us online to schedule a service.