Are you one of those car owners who follow the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra? Following your car maintenance schedule offers a lot of benefits for the car owner. For starters, it helps prevent problems before they occur. It’s also a great way to maintain your vehicle’s resale value. Ideally, car maintenance schedules are developed by car manufacturers for vehicle owners’ benefit.
Most car manufacturers have pegged the maintenance service interval at a 30-60-90 schedule. What this means is certain components of your car need to be inspected, repaired, or replaced at the interval of 30,000, 60,000- and 90,000-mile mark. However, if you are like most car owners, you might begin to question if every suggested maintenance check in your vehicle is essential for its well-being.
It’s important to note that some replaceable such as hoses, tires, rubber gaskets, and windshield wipers will wear out irregularly. These components will need regular checking, by the car owner, or by a professional mechanic.
Why Is Factory-Scheduled Maintenance Important?
According to the Auto Aftermarket Industry Association, $50 billion of auto maintenance goes unperformed every year. This “shortens the life of people’s vehicles and puts them at risk of higher future repair costs and the danger of being stranded on the side of the road,” says Tyler LeGrand, Category Manager at Bridgestone Retail Operations.
Aside from the fact that scheduled maintenance recommendations are written by the people who made your car, the following can help you:
- Save time and money by addressing minor concerns before they become major problems.
- Improve your safety on the road by monitoring the health of your car’s essential components like brakes, tires, and fluid levels.
- Maintain your car’s resale value by helping keep everything from the A/C to the radiator in good working order.
- Keep a record of services that have been performed, and services that need to be scheduled next.
- Problems are caught early, therefore they become easier and cheaper to prevent and fix.
- Safety on the road is improved, as your vehicle’s essential components such as tires, brakes, and fluid levels are kept optimal.
- You will receive benefits of optimal performance, less breakdowns and better fuel economy – by replacing and servicing items on your vehicle at the proper mileage intervals (like the Spark Plugs, Filters and Fluids).
How will I Keep Track of My Car Maintenance Schedule?
The best way you can keep track of your car maintenance schedule is by going through your owner’s manual. However, if this information is not regularly available to you, you can try checking on your manufacturer’s online resources page.
Checking in with a professional auto repair center could go a long way in figuring out your maintenance schedule. Recommended schedules usually fall into two categories:
1. Normal Maintenance
As a car owner, you are already accustomed to this maintenance service, or what’s commonly known as standard maintenance. This kind of auto maintenance service involves getting regular services as recommended by the manufacturer.
Standard maintenance service is for vehicle owners who have short commutes of fewer than 10 to 15,000 miles each year without several stops and starts along the way. Normal maintenance service is ideal for cars that do not go through exceptionally demanding driving conditions.
2. Severe Maintenance
Severe maintenance schedule service is for automobiles that go through extra demanding tasks such as long-distance driving in stop-and-go traffic, hauling, towing, and off-roading.
Automobiles that drive under such conditions will require frequent component replacement and maintenance checks. This type of service doesn’t involve different types of services but rather shorter periods between regular services.
What Type of Maintenance Does Your Vehicle Need?
The best way to understand what your vehicle needs is by reading its owner’s manual. Manufacturer maintenance schedules really matter, given that they have the most knowledge about their vehicles during each stage of their life.
Depending on your driving habits though, you will need to decide whether your car needs normal or more regular maintenance.
Most vehicles will not need anything other than standard maintenance, which is composed of regular services as determined by the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Vehicles that don’t go through especially demanding driving conditions and are only driven fewer than 10-12,000 miles a year will likely be fine with the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.
If, on the other hand, your vehicle is regularly used for especially demanding tasks, such as off-roading, heavy towing and hauling, or long-distance driving, more frequent maintenance checks and part replacement will be necessary.
This means there will be a shorter duration of time between services. There are some drivers that may need to service their vehicles more often than others (typically due to the high miles driven, dusty conditions, extreme hot or cold climates, and salt upon the roads).
Consider following your manufacturer maintenance schedules thoroughly and talking to your mechanic about your particular driving habits. This can help you understand what type of services are needed to keep your vehicle in top condition for as long as possible.