Spring is a peak season for vehicle sales; companies aggressively market new models and offer all sorts of incentives. So you may be tempted to buy a shiny new beauty. But should you?
If you’ve regularly maintained the vehicle you’re driving now, you probably don’t NEED a new one. Even if your current one needs some repairs, how do those costs compare to what you’d spend on a new vehicle?
A brand new vehicle starts to depreciate the second you drive it off the lot. How much? Experts say you’ll lose half of its value during the first 5 years of owning a new vehicle. So if you pay $30,000 for a new one, you’ll lose $15,000 in 5 years. That’s a lot.
If you have paid off your current vehicle, think of having to start making car payments again. Let’s say your new payment would be $350 a month. Bet you can think of a lot of things you can buy with an extra $350 a month.
Many considering a new vehicle don’t factor how much their insurance and license tag fees will increase. You may save yourself hundreds of dollars in insurance and license tag fees every year if you keep your old vehicle.
That gets us back to the original question. Do you need a new vehicle? Reliability and durability of most models have made dramatic improvements in the last couple of decades. It’s not unusual for a vehicle to reliably reach the 200,000 mile/325,000 km mark these days. That’s due to new engineering in powertrains, corrosion protection and lubricants.
The best bet to keeping a vehicle on the road longer is scheduled, regular maintenance and inspection. Replacing parts before they fail is often cheaper than waiting till they do fail; frequently that prevents a damaging domino effect that affects other systems in the vehicle. Finding a service facility you can trust and developing a relationship with that facility ensures your scheduled service and maintenance will be done correctly, minimizing breakdowns.
Sure, at some point you may find you need a big repair that will cost more than your vehicle is worth, or rust will destroy vital components. But it’s wise to use reason rather than emotion when you’re making any decision about your vehicle, and sticking with your current one could be the most sensible choice.
Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our minivans.
Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help St. Peter auto owners maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.
Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of critical automotive performance for St. Peter car owners: protection of the vehicle itself, MPG, and safety.
Your vehicle’s components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by products. Protective components include filters and fluids.
Most of the fluids in your minivan are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your minivan.
For example, motor oil lubricates your engine, when keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle’s engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. St. Peter auto owners should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.
Over time, the important additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.
Over time, your vehicle’s systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of fuel economy and power output.
For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine’s efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore fuel economy and improve gas mileage.
Some of your minivan’s systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents for St. Peter auto owners.
Your owner’s manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your minivan. Of course, you can consult with a your Autotronics of ST Peter service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.
Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like fifteen or twenty thousand miles. The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your minivan. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.
The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at Autotronics of ST Peter in St. Peter to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better gas mileage and fewer pricey repairs. It may even save your life.
There are a lot of things in life that St. Peter residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our St. Peter dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don’t stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.
Scheduled maintenance is also part of good car care. St. Peter drivers should take their minivans in regularly for a good check-up. But many Cleveland folks struggle to remember, or actually even ignore, this auto advice. When it comes to our cars, we’re more likely to listen to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.
Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze, for example, vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?
One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting; we can smell how dirty our clothes are; but we don’t notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our minivans is like trouble in our bodies—ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can’t know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Autotronics of ST Peter in St. Peter.
Another reason us St. Peter drivers put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most St. Peter auto owners don’t know.
Of course, our minivans come with owner’s manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many St. Peter car owners actually read them?
The good news is that all St. Peter drivers have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Autotronics of ST Peter in St. Peter. Like a good doctor, your knowledgeable Autotronics of ST Peter technician will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your car needs and when. The service center can track your car’s maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.
Here are some guidelines to help St. Peter drivers understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it’s a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner’s manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.
Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.
Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There’s no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.
Fuel. Obviously your minivan needs gas on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.
These are the basics of car maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don’t need to be replaced as often.
If you are taking your minivan in for the basics, then your St. Peter service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you’ll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.
If you’re not convinced yet that your minivan needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased MPG, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to pricey repair bills and costly accidents.
Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at Autotronics of ST Peter in St. Peter can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.