Planning Ahead on Car Maintenance Saves You Serious Hassle
July 31, 2021
Don’t Break Down at the Worst Time
Cars are complex machines with many interconnected moving parts. Like all machines, they break down over time. When this happens, the repair bills can be expensive. It’s even worse when it happens at a bad time – such as when you’re traveling out of town. Preventative car maintenance and some basic awareness can help you avoid this problem in most cases. We spoke to SE Performance, a mechanic in Cache Valley, for some insight on how you can avoid most costly breakdowns. This is what they told us.
1. Know Your Car
All cars are different. Different manufacturers build their cars to different standards, obviously, but even different models by the same manufacturer will be different, sometimes in very specific ways. On top of that, individual cars can have their unique quirks. You have to know your car if you want to plan for maintenance. The first place to look is your owner’s manual. Your owners manual will tell you everything you need to know about how many miles your car is expected to go before needing maintenance. The owner’s manual may also have advice on the best uses of the car to avoid causing problems before then. Be sure to familiarize yourself with it and follow it’s recommendations.
2. Know The Parts
Over time, even with the best maintenance and proper use, some parts are going to wear out. This is just how it goes with machines. You will need to occasionally replace parts to keep your car in good condition. When you do, make sure you talk with your mechanic about the parts used. They should be able to tell you about the parts, how good they are, how long they can be expected to last, and what the warranty on them is. Take note of this information and keep it handy. You can use it to plan your maintenance and upkeep.
3. Regular Safety Inspections
Although safety inspections aren’t currently required by law in Utah anymore, they’re still highly advised. A yearly safety inspection will see a mechanic looking over your whole car for any issues that need to be corrected. Most safety inspections won’t turn up anything very serious, but that isn’t why you should have them. It’s a well-documented fact that mechanics who work on cars for a long time learn how to spot the signs of something going bad before even the most precise instruments will detect anything.
Most repairs get expensive because when one thing breaks, it tends to break other parts. It leads to multiple problems that add up to one costly repair bill. If the problem that starts it all is caught early, most mechanics can fix it with some simple maintenance or a single part replacement. This means you pay a small amount for the maintenance instead of a large amount for the repairs. It also means you avoid having a breakdown at an inconvenient time.
4. Don’t Ignore The Warning Signs
When people take in their car to get repairs, they will often comment that they’d suspected something was off for months before the car broke down. They’ll report odd smells, strange sounds from the engine, increased emissions from the exhaust, or changes in how the car handles on the road. They seemed small, maybe even inconsistent, so they ignored them and went on with their business.
Then the car broke down. In these cases, the breakdown could have been avoided if the owner had taken the car in for maintenance when they first noticed something off. If you’ve been driving your car for a year or two, you should know what’s normal for how your car sounds and handles. When something changes, or it starts doing something it didn’t do before, that’s usually a sign that something is out of order. Getting it to a mechanic right away will allow them to find and correct the problem before it has time to get serious.
Planning For Car Maintenance Is A Must
Cars are very useful tools, but all things wear down with time. If you want to avoid an inconvenient breakdown, then you need to plan for regular maintenance and upkeep to prevent it. Annual safety inspections will catch problems that develop. Familiarizing yourself with your car by reading the owner’s manual will help you learn when you should schedule for specific kinds of maintenance on your vehicle. Learning the quirks of your car, such as the way it sounds and handles, will help you spot the warning signs to get it checked on before it breaks down on you. Any car will eventually reach a point where the maintenance becomes more expensive than it’s worth, but regular maintenance and good planning will keep your car running longer. If you haven’t been having regular maintenance done, now’s the time to get on it. It saves more money in the long run and helps you avoid breakdowns at times you can’t afford them.