According to 2015 data from the Car Care Council, 84% of vehicles surveyed required immediate service. Among the issues: low or dirty oil, contaminated air filters and inadequate coolant levels. Neglecting preventive auto maintenance means easy fixes can become expensive repairs down the road.
Why is preventive maintenance important?
- It saves you money. "Preventive maintenance helps you get the most out of what has become a significant investment in transportation', says Tony Molla, Vice President of Communications for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). "For most consumers, a car is [one of the biggest purchases] they're going to make in their lifetime."
- It increases longevity. Molla says it isn't unreasonable for today's vehicles to last 250,000 miles or more and regular maintenance can help them run longer.
- It improves safety. Keep your car in top shape to reduce the risk of malfunctions that could cause an accident or leave you stranded. Regular maintenance will help you identify a tire that's about to blow or brake pads that need to be replaced, Molla says.
- It maximizes efficiency. Something as small as a misfiring spark plug can affect gas mileage. Molla says your vehicle needs regular maintenance to deliver the manufacturer's estimated fuel economy.
What preventive maintenance should I perform?
You should follow generally accepted maintenance schedules, such as the car maintenance schedule in your vehicle owner's manual or this one from the Car Care Council. However, these are simply guidelines. How often, where and how you drive affects the type and timing of service your vehicle needs.
Although you can perform some repairs yourself, it's best to have your car inspected by an ASE-certified technician at least twice each year in the spring and fall to determine maintenance needs.