Car repairs: preventative maintenance vs unscheduled repairsAugust 01, 2022
You know that suggested routine maintenance schedule your car dealer gives you to follow? Let’s see if it’s actually necessary and what the costs are like for preventative maintenance versus unscheduled repairs that can sneak up on you.
What car maintenance is really necessary
Think of car maintenance like going to the dentist — it’s generally better to go in for a cleaning twice a year than avoid the dreaded chair like the plague and then deal with multiple cavities and root canals at the same time.
For a car, this often entails your regular oil change, tire swap and rotation, but there are a few other services that fall under preventative maintenance and can prevent costly repairs (that always come at the worst time).
On top of scheduled oil changes, it’s recommended to have your tire pressure checked often, as well as brake inspections. You can learn to perform your own inspections by attentively listening to the sounds your car makes, so you can spot anything out of the ordinary, and by being aware of the feeling when you are driving so that if anything feels off, you will know right away.
Check your car’s manual
Your car’s instruction manual actually contains all the info you need to know — what kind of oil your engine needs, what kind of gas your car drives on, and how often it is recommended to perform maintenance services. This is important because while your mechanic makes recommendations, every make and model is widely different from another and what’s true for your vehicle may be totally false for another. Check your manual so you don’t accidentally void your warranty or corrode your engine with the wrong type of oil.
Car maintenance costs versus repairs
Preventative maintenance costs
If you do a brake inspection and realize your brakes are almost worn out, you will simply replace your brake pads and go on with your day. This will cost a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the type of brake pads you purchase. Because you caught the wear early, your rotors likely won’t be affected.
Unscheduled repairs costs
If you don’t do the brake inspection and only look at your brakes when you hear a squealing noise or your brakes are malfunctioning, you might find that your worn-out brake pads damaged your rotors which now need to be replaced as well — you could be looking at a number closer to a thousand dollars since both the rotors and pads will need to be replaced.
In short, preventative maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, ensure your safety on the road, and extend the durability of your car parts!