The Cost of Car Care Neglect
Whether it’s not changing the brakes in time or neglecting to rotate the tires, not following car maintenance intervals can end up costing you big bucks in the long run. Routine maintenance can keep you and your family safe and keep your car out of the repair shop.
A survey by the Car Care Council found that 89% of the vehicles on the road today have neglected at least one of the following items:
- 25% of cars had low or dirty engine oil
- 13% had low or contaminated brake fluid
- 18% had dirty air filters
- 17% had inadequate coolant protection or low coolant
- 16% needed new windshield wipers and 27% had low washer fluid
- 18% needed new belts
These might not seem like a big deal to the daily driver, but neglected repairs like this can add up to some serious repairs later. Simple things like changing your brakes on time, checking your tire pressure and changing your oil can keep you safe on the road and avoid bigger repairs later. Listed below are consequences of neglecting your vehicle maintenance.
- Dirty or clogged air filters can cause poor engine performance. A suffocated engine will eventually break down and ruin other components. Even worse — if debris gets into the engine it could lead to catastrophic engine failure.
- ‘Check engine’ lights should be checked immediately. These can snowball into other, more complicated The engine relies on multiple sensors to check air/fuel mixture ratios. If one of these components fails, the engine can’t function as well. This leads to other sensors failing and eventually, total engine breakdown.
- Low or dirty engine oil can cause poor performance, bad gas mileage and eventually engine sludge. Engine sludge will lock up the engine resulting in a totaled car which insurance carriers will not cover.
- Low or inadequate coolant can lead to poor engine performance, bad gas mileage and an overheating engine that will leave the vehicle stranded. If the engine gets too hot it could blow a head gasket, and this repair can cost upwards of $4,000.
- Damaged engine drive belts can break and leave the vehicle stranded. If the drive belt isn’t attached, the vehicle cannot run. It’ll have no power steering, no coolant circulation, no air conditioning and no electricity from the alternator to the vehicle.
- Old or contaminated brake fluid can cause poor stopping power and a spongy pedal. It can also damage the ABS module.
- Low brake pads can eventually get so low they’ll destroy the vehicles rotors and possibly the calipers.
- Low brake shoes can eventually get so low they’ll destroy the vehicles drums and possibly the wheel cylinders.
- Low brake pads and/or brake shoes can cause poor stopping power.
- Poor quality brake pads can cause warped rotors that will cause front end vibration.
Common Wear Components
- Damaged wiper blades can cause poor visibility in rain storms. Sun destroys the rubber on these wiper blades. Most drivers replace wipers once to twice a year, but they should be replaced every three months.
- Rotating the vehicle’s tires can prolong the life of the tire and ensure the tire wears evenly at the same rate as the other tires.
- Properly aligned vehicles will prevent suspensions component’s from wearing out as quickly. Vehicles that aren’t aligned properly will actually drag the tire down the road as it drives, causing uneven wear.
- Under-inflated tires can cause uneven tire wear, pulling while driving, vibration in the steering wheel and wear suspension components quicker.
- Car washes can clear build up from the wheels and the vehicle’s paint that would otherwise eventually eat into the clear coat of the cars finish or ruin the vehicle’s wheels.
This may seem like a lot, but maintaining your vehicle in small doses isn’t as costly as doing it all once. Simply doing a visual inspection and checking fluid levels every 3,000 miles can go a long way. Maintaining your vehicle will preserve the look, feel and value of your vehicle for the long run.