Yes, the upkeep on your vehicle can be pricey, but staying on top of your car maintenance is less expensive than the alternative. The cost of not taking good care of your vehicle can be an eye opening lesson sometimes, and a great reason to stay on top of things.
For example, changing your vehicle’s oil. When I was a kid, it cost me $1,500 to replace the engine in my $400 1981 Toyota Tercel. I was completely clueless about vehicle maintenance, and let the oil run dry. Lesson learned. In those days, one could perform their own oil changes, and I soon learned how afterwards. These days, cars are complicated and not worth the hassle of doing it yourself. Check your owner’s manual to learn how frequently your car’s oil and filter should be changed. The 5,000 km rule doesn’t always apply these days. Many newer cars can safely go 7,000-25,000 lm between oil changes.
Tires are expensive, though in reality they are one of those expenses that are worth every penny, since it’s your tires that keep you safe on the road. Many of us don’t think about it much, but spending $20 on a tire rotation can help extend the life of your tires, saving you money in the long run. Your car will survive without tire rotation, but rotation can also keep you from needing to have your tires rebalanced too. Ask your service advisor to rotate them when the car is in for service anyway, and save the expense of removal too.
An awful lot of us, myself included, don’t have the first clue about changing a vehicle’s transmission fluid. It doesn’t need changing as frequently as the oil, but it does need changing once in a while. Manufacturer’s recommendations vary between 50,000 to 200,000 km, so check your owner’s manual. This can often be addressed by your mechanic, or the people who change your oil. Factors such as heavy city driving or hauling heavy loads can cause the transmission fluid to deteriorate more quickly. Sometimes it will smell like something burned if it requires changing, or appear darker in colour. It’s simply not worth risking a new transmission for minor maintenance that only needs to be performed every couple of years.
At the same time as when you have your vehicle’s oil changed, consider changing your engine air filter. It doesn’t need to be changed every three months, but remember that a clogged air filter can affect your acceleration by as much as 6 to 11 percent as well as your fuel economy.
Along with these specific acts of car maintenance, there are other things that need attention once in a while. Make certain that your lights are working, wipers in good condition, wiper fluid topped up and tires inflated properly. A little TLC and regular car maintenance is a lot less expensive than the alternative!