August 14, 2019

Is Your Vehicle Ready to go Back to School? The Maintenance Free Myth

Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before. So, does that mean that modern vehicles have become maintenance free?

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, people were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every 15k miles. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Now, the ignition system is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So, tune-ups used to force you in for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

So, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your car will perform better and return better fuel economy. Those benefits pay for the service as you go along.

The big plus is that major repairs – and the associated breakdowns – are prevented. And these aren’t just the repairs that are a long way off. Modern engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing or over extending just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within one to three years if not sooner!

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. No one wants to be stranded by a breakdown. Your vehicle still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. Check out my article on Fuel Induction Service (the Modern Day Tuneup) as an example of how engines and their maintenance needs have changed. The need for proper maintenance has not gone away.


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