Auto maintenance is a necessary evil. No, we aren’t saying that auto maintenance IS “evil” – we’re simply alluding to the fact that you spend a pretty penny on your car, only to spend more throughout its lifetime to maintain it. It’s just part of the deal.
Because auto repair can get expensive, and there are so many myths about when you should change your oil, tires, etc., it’s important to know which advice you can trust and which is simply out there to lure you back to the garage for another visit.
Such tactics are awful for the industry, as most mechanics and shops are incredibly professional and absolutely trustworthy. But, like many things, there is a small minority of the industry that continues to deceive auto owners in an attempt to maximize profits.
One thing can help you avoid being taken advantage of, however…knowledge.
So, with that, we’re going to address a few of the most popular maintenance procedures, and let you know the truth behind each one:
The Oil Change
If you aren’t having your oil changed, your vehicle won’t last long. There has never been any argument over whether or not an oil change is necessary. Instead, there are varying opinions on how often you should change your oil. From every 3000 miles to every 6000 miles, the overall timeframe for an oil change varies. So, which one is it? We’re glad you asked…
The oil change conversation will depend greatly on the YEAR of your vehicle. Newer cars can often go 7,500 to 10,000 miles without an oil change. Now, we aren’t saying that you’re off the hook for your next oil change. Instead, we’re just asking you to research your make and model a bit, giving yourself the necessary information before scheduling your next oil change appointment.
Here’s a great article from the NY Times on the subject:
Inside this article, the author references a California initiative to clear up oil changing frequency questions, urging drivers to wait longer between oil changes. The government created a listing of the makes and models, and the applicable oil change timeframes:
Ok, this one is a biggie. Brake jobs are one of the most common routine maintenance procedures for automobiles. Though the frequency isn’t that of the above-mentioned oil change, during ownership, you will likely have to have your brake pads and rotors changed multiple times…right?
Well, yes and no. The brake pads wear out. After all, they’re supposed to. But, the rotors, which are always brought up by a mechanic when changing the brake pads, DO NOT need to be replaced as often as some might make it seem. Warping can occur over time, but if your rotors are needing replacement on your vehicle’s first brake job, then something is wrong. Granted, it could have been that you simply let the pads “grind” for too long before taking the vehicle in…so, you aren’t completely absolved here. But, in actuality, rotors can last for quite some time.
Learn more about brakes here:
Tires are another routine repair that can be quite costly with certain vehicles. Understanding when you need replace or rotate your tires can be a huge money saver. And, to complicate matters, there are so many variations of the same size tires that anyone without an understanding of the subject can find themselves purchasing blindly.
Having the right tires for your vehicle, and your particular climate, are the best way to ensure on-road safety. However, it’s important to know what you need and what you don’t need!
So, the next time you take your car in to the mechanic, remember that having a trustworthy professional on hand is invaluable. And, even though you may have a great mechanic on your hands, it never hurts to know some level of information about the routine maintenance schedule, and what is truly necessary.
Until next time, keep those cars up and running, everyone!