“I don’t need the brake flush today. Maybe later.”
“Can I go a little longer on those brake pads?”
“Why should I bother changing my transmission fluid?”
I’m sure people have asked these questions in every auto shop across the globe. Then, those that never brought the car back for the maintenance suggested are calling a tow truck to have their car towed. I am not making this up. It has happened time and again at our shop.
After checking the car, we call the customer back and let them know the total. They are confused because it costs them more than we originally.
A quoted guide pulley may have cost less than a hundred dollars. But it broke into pieces and slung into the radiator. Now, the cost is five-hundred dollars. It has happened. Neglected brake pad replacement has led to the purchase of rotors also, or worse, a caliper. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture. Heat the water in the brake fluid, and that could lead to brake failure. I can go on and on about neglected maintenance that I have seen over the years. I have also seen people perform their maintenance when due. They tend to have a lower cost to maintain their vehicle over the life of the vehicle than those that never do the maintenance.
We all depend on our cars. Car maintenance is the key to keeping it dependable. People buy a car and never open the owner’s manual. They purchase the two- or three-year maintenance plan, and when that runs out, they tend to forget about the maintenance schedule. The manufacturer recommends the scheduled maintenance for you to get the most from your vehicle. I won’t be covering all the maintenance. Still, I will be going over the most critical recommended maintenance options and what happens to the car when neglected.
This subject is so important that I have divided this post into at least two posts. Maybe more. I started writing, and the first subject below is worthy of a post all its own.
The most crucial maintenance tip: Change your fluids and filters when due
I cannot stress this tip enough: “Get your oil changed on schedule.” I need to add that you need to use the recommended oil and a high-quality filter. Changing your oil is the number one way to ensure the proper operation of your engine. Everyone on the planet who owns a car should know this. I have rebuilt and replaced engines for the simple fact of not getting regular oil changes. I have seen oil turned to gel and will not fall off after removing the oil pan: unbelievable. I cannot believe people have a car and never change the oil. Please change your oil regularly and use the recommended oil and oil filter. You don’t have to have the maintenance performed at the dealer. Plenty of independent shops use high-quality oil and oil filters. The filter is important because it cleans and filters out small particles and debris as the oil circulates through tiny passageways in the engine. In today’s high-performance engines, I recommend a good quality synthetic oil with the recommended viscosity range. Using a cheap oil and oil filter will cause premature engine failure. I have witnessed this with my own average tech eyes. Some manufacturers recommend a specific brand of oil. I would use whatever brand they recommend.
Oil filters clean your oil. Oil travels through tiny passageways throughout your engine. Dirt and tiny particles that build up over time can clog these passageways. I recommend a high-quality filter. You don’t have to use the OES (Original Equipment Supplier) part. The OES is the filter from the dealer. I would recommend using the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). I will save a future post for the many brands of oil filters and their advantages and disadvantages. A simple rule of thumb: the less you spend, the cheaper the quality. This rule of thumb goes with almost any part or fluid in the auto industry. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule of thumb. I will point out any opportunity to buy top quality parts at a lower price anytime I can.
Let’s review. Change your oil and oil filter with high-quality replacement parts. Keep to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. We will cover the other fluids and filters in the next post. I have rambled long enough on this one.
The Awesome Auto Tech