Friday, September 11, 2009
NOTE: The following article was posted on our old website and we don't want to loose it so we are reposting it here on this blog.
A lot has been said about preventive maintenance from many sources, but the plain, simple fact remains - people don’t want to spend their time and resources maintaining their vehicle. According to a press release from ASE, the industry standard for technician certification, disclosed through a survey they conducted, that even though 48% of their technicians explain in detail about preventive maintenance, only about 2% of their customers actually follow this advice. Only 2%!
It may be the fast paced society that we live in, the great improvements in automotive technology or just plain complacency, but if only 2% of the motorists follow a set guideline, no wonder there are so many vehicle repair shops out there.
It is widely spoken (and often joked about) that the most widely available book to read, the owners’ manual, is the one least likely to be read. If your personal vehicle represents the second largest investment in your life, (and you will purchase more than one!), we highly recommend that you read and follow your owner’s manual.
Understanding your owner’s manual may not be that easy. In most cases they list two (2) different schedules - “A” & “B”. In our personal & professional opinion, forget schedule “A”! Those driving conditions are, in the real world, mythical and don’t exist. Most everyone drives schedule “B”, at least here in central Indiana. Here are some of the conditions for driving under schedule “B”; all you need is to be driving under just one condition to be classified under “B”:
Day and Night Temperatures Below Freezing
Anytime from November to March in the Midwest.
Frequent Stop and Go Driving
Daily commute traffic jams.
Frequent Long Periods of Engine Idling (no time limit listed!)
Stuck in construction traffic again.
Frequent Driving in Dusty Conditions
How dusty is “dusty”? Here in farm land there is always dust!
Frequent Trips of Less Than 5 Miles
Trips to school, soccer games, the grocery store, etc.
Frequent Sustained High Speeds During Hot Weather, Above 90F
Anytime from May to September.
With repair costs as high as they are today, can you really afford not to perform preventive maintenance?
Automotive Preventive Maintenance Costs
Why do you want me to spend more of my money? Aren’t you just trying to rip me off?
We’ve heard these questions asked many times. We’ve seen them posted on message boards and in chat rooms. It seems that everyone thinks that all auto repair shops, including the dealers, are out to take all their money! Note: There are some shops that are rip off centers, so beware.
Well, lets look at some dollar and cents facts:
If you drive a vehicle 100,000 miles and follow Schedule “A”, you’ll get your oil changed only 13 times (at every 7,500 miles). At $25.00 per visit, that is $325.00 at today’s prices. Sounds pretty cheap and kind of attractive, doesn’t it? On the other hand, in most cases, you’ll need a replacement engine pretty soon if you only had 13 oil changes in 100,000 miles. A remanufactured engine, installed with all the extras thrown in, like belts, hoses, a radiator, major tune up, etc., ranges from $3,500.00 to $6,000.00 at 2003 prices.
On the other hand, if the same vehicle is driven the same miles, but has been serviced under Schedule “B”, it will receive 33 oil changes. The inside of the engine will be much cleaner and have a lot less wear and tear. At the same $25.00 per visit, the cost of preventive maintenance rises to only $825.00 but your total cost of ownership drops by the thousands!
Do you know why an engine requires motor oil and what exactly happens to this motor oil when it runs in an engine? An engine is assembled out of many smaller parts made out of many different metals. Most of these parts are moving very rapidly, 800 times per minute at idle, either rotating or sliding up and down. Motor oil provides a very thin layer of protection that lubricates these parts and prevents metal to metal contact. Motor oil also cools these parts as it is pumped through the engine and it picks up “dirt” and carries it to the filter. Dirt? Where does dirt come from? As an engine burns gasoline, carbon particles are released. Most of these blow out the tailpipe, but some work their way down inside and turn the motor oil black. Heavy concentrations of carbon are very abrasive and cause rapid engine wear. When oil is subjected to high temps, after a while ( around 3,000 miles) it starts to break down. Paraffin (an ingredient found in most motor oils) starts to “clump out” or form sludge. Motor oil also gets contaminated with hydrochloric acid, formed from condensation moisture and carbon. Motor oil needs to be changed before any of this happens.
This same principal of preventive maintenance applies to every part of your vehicle - from filters to belts, hoses to coolant, from wheel bearings to brakes, from transmissions to differentials, you name it, if you don’t service it, you’ll end up paying premium repair costs or take a loss on short vehicle life. It’s your choice, sooner or later you’ll have to pay someone the price of ownership.
Doesn’t it make sense to pay as little as possible?