Just the idea of auto repair frightens many consumers due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. The education that most people get on how to keep their ownership expenses down and at the same time making their vehicles last is usually done through the School of Hard Knocks. Here are a couple of simple tips on how you can make vehicle ownership much more enjoyable and affordable.
First, cars break. That is a fact that none of us are going to get around. It is true that consumers who regularly maintain their vehicles spend much less than consumers who typically only see their mechanic when they are broke down. Why? Most modern passenger vehicles are made to last about 200,000 miles or 10-15 years when properly maintained. Of course there are some models that will last less and some that will last much longer. But a vehicle that is poorly maintained in its early days is likely to cost the owner (whoever that may be) thousands of dollars more than a similar vehicle that’s had all of its routine maintenance early on. That routine maintenance includes things like regularly changing the oil every 3000-5000 miles, flushing and replacing the transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid and engine coolant at the mileage that the manufacturer recommends. The longer you put these things off past their due date, the more likely your vehicle is to have a premature failure on any of it’s major components. And that’s where it can get expensive!
The same rule holds true when it’s time to fix your car. When your vehicle is giving you signs that something is wrong, the longer you wait to get it checked out by a mechanic the more likely the repairs are going to cost you more money. Here is an all too common example: You see a small drip of something in the carport but it doesn’t concern you because it’s just a small amount. What you don’t know is that only a small amount is actually hitting the ground even though you have a pretty severe fluid leak at the power steering gearbox. Even though only a little is hitting the ground, all the rest is blowing back as you are driving and sticking to the engine, hoses and other components in the undercarriage. You wait until you next oil change in three months to find out that not only do you have a severe leak, but the fluid blowing back ate through some of the other rubber hoses in it’s path and you have to prematurely replace those too.
The durability of the modern vehicle sometimes tricks us into thinking that those small things can “wait a little longer” or “until I have some extra cash”. But the truth is that you are very wise to jump on any issues with your vehicle right away. And there really isn’t any reason to wait because most shops like 3A Automotive will always give you a free visual inspection. By allowing your mechanic to check any issues out right away, they can advise you if it is something that can wait or if it is something that you need to handle ASAP. This is where having a relationship with a shop that you can trust comes in handy. An owner, service advisor or mechanic who has been around for a while isn’t interested in conning you into a one-time sale on something that could maybe wait. Their interest is in the long-term relationship where they know you’ll be back again & again and you’ll send your friends.
So, find a shop that has a good reputation that you can trust. These people will keep you up to speed on what maintenance you need and when. They’ll work with you according to your driving habits and your budget. When you see any leaks, hear any abnormal noises or when something just doesn’t feel right, take it into the shop right away. They’ll be available to help you keep your vehicle on the road and limit those unexpected major repairs.