We live in such a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.
New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough – we had to do without.
We couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days.
They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules.
Is it really that bad to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster.
Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.
It’s also even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re a bit more stressed anyway. But it’s never too late to get back on track with your maintenance and to hold off further damage.
It’s just another example of our parents being right. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net – go in for oil changes on time, and let your service adviser help you keep track of the rest.
Of course, some things are going to wear out along the way, stuff like alternators, water pumps and such. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol – you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
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