When you own a brand new car it’s almost a given that you will keep to regular service intervals within the first few years of ownership. On the flip-side, those who have purchased used cars or second hand cars will sometimes neglect regular maintenance, when in fact maintenance is even more important as a vehicle ages.
The most obvious reason to keep your car well maintained is because it will help to prolong the life of mechanical parts.
Oil, fluid, and air filter maintenance are some of the most important areas where maintenance should be performed. Over time, solids and debris build up in lubricants, and this can eventually cause wear on mechanical parts. In the case of the engine, this could cause internal failures with pistons and other moving parts. In the case of hydraulics, a failure could mean a loss in braking performance. You don’t need examples to know that decreased braking power is a serious safety issue.
Even something as seemingly trivial as an air filter is essential to the smooth running of your car. The air filter ensures that your engine gets the cleanest air, which is then used in the air/fuel mixture that drives the engine. A dirty or old filter could mean inadequate airflow, or even poor quality air entering the engine. Not only could this be potentially damaging, but it could also make your car less economical to run. The cost of this is not just in increased fuel consumption, but in increased emissions that damage the environment.
One thing that you might never have considered as maintenance is the air pressure in your tires. Keeping your tires inflated to recommended levels is the easiest maintenance you can perform, and you should check pressure at least once per month. If a tire is not inflated correctly, it could mean increased fuel consumption.
When tires aren’t inflated to specification they also wear easier, and they stop performing as designed. Remember that the tires main job is to provide traction, which is the connecting element between the momentum of your vehicle and the surface that you’re driving on. Improperly inflated tires could mean that you can no longer corner and stop safely, so this is one area of car maintenance that you don’t want to ignore.
We’ve talked about just a few areas of common vehicle maintenance; oil, fluids, filters, and tires. Already you can see that neglecting maintenance in these areas could cost you money through loss of efficiency, and even cost lives through loss of safety. We haven’t even touched on areas like the transmission, the brake pads, and other important mechanical running gear.
Regular vehicle maintenance is absolutely critical, and it’s important to have a professional to maintain and inspect your car every 4000 – 5000 miles. Doing so will not only protect your investment, but protect you and other road users from the unpredictable behavior of a poorly maintained car.