Preventative Auto Maintenance: Is It Worth the Expense?

Understanding the Need for Preventative Car Maintenance

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Cars are an indispensable mode of transportation—some have even called it an “abject dependence”—for most Americans. They’re important because for many, who may not live in towns or cities with good public transportation systems, they’re the only way they can get to work, visit friends, and run their errands—they also represent simple freedom to many drivers.

Moreover, not everyone is bowled over with excitement about having to rely on a ride-sharing service to get around town; in fact, the 2016 Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book Gen Z Automotive Study showed an astonishing 92 percent of Generation Zers—the generation of those born during the twenty-first century—either own or want to own a car. This post-millennial generation has no intention of giving up their car ownership dreams, either: based on the same study, virtually every one of them said they plan to get their driver’s license.

Car ownership is fine, as long as drivers don’t forget the upkeep and maintenance that they require. When drivers neglect proper maintenance, it can be costly. The cost isn’t just in terms of money but also time and convenience.

Understanding the Need for Preventative Car Maintenance

Few want to pay for something that they don’t see an immediate need for. While it might be easy to dismiss budgeting for auto maintenance services before they’re actually called for, it’s important to consider that when there’s an actual need, it may be too late. If something happens to your car at a difficult time of your life, such as when you’re out of a job, then it could be a devastating blow to your bank account and further hinder your chances of getting your life back on track quickly.

A malfunction in your car can cause an accident that leads to getting physically injured and, in the worst of cases, even death. Taking precautions by getting basics such as oil changes, tire inspections, tire rotations, seat-belt checks, tire pressure checks, windshield wiper checks, leak checks, and tire pressure checks done on a regular basis can help prevent unforeseen emergencies.

Putting Safety First

Preventative auto maintenance, including tune-ups, can keep your car safe. If you have children who are also your regular passengers, then unquestionably a critical reason to do routine upkeep on your vehicle is to ensure it doesn’t break down or suffer any other type of accident when you least expect it. You want yourself and anyone else traveling with you to feel as safe as possible.

Getting the Right Help

Once you realize you need preventative auto maintenance, you’ll need to decide on who should do it. Today’s vehicles are made with far more sophistication than in times past. As a result, many car owners are scared to tinker at all with their vehicles.

Some components should be looked at by a reputable mechanic, but even the mechanically disinclined can still read auto-related how-to books and websites such as those from respected brands like “Car and Driver” and “Popular Mechanics” in order to learn how to perform certain services themselves to keep their vehicles in tip-top shape.

For example, you don’t have to be a trained mechanic to perform basic services to winterize your vehicle in the fall, so you don’t run into big problems during the next season. Nor do you need to be a mechanic to simply wash your car to get rid of the salty film left over from a particularly snowy winter and thus prevent rust from forming.

Having a Prepaid Car Maintenance Plan

No matter how reliable you feel your car is, never underestimate the potential for unexpected repairs. For many car owners, there’s security in buying maintenance in advance. Today, you can purchase so-called prepaid auto maintenance (only available for new vehicles) from dealers, which acts as a type of “insurance.” In exchange for prepaying, should the need arise for the service you’ve prepaid for, you’ll have it readily available without having to pay for it at the moment of need. Buying in advance generally results in car owners paying substantially less for the service than had they waited.

Rounding It Out

When you buy a car, whether used or new, it’s important that you put together a car maintenance strategy. This is especially important if you buy an older model. Your strategy should include intervals at which you intend to perform routine maintenance work along with the costs associated with each. Planning will enable you to keep your vehicle, yourself, and your passengers safe.

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