Car Maintenance: Do You Really Need Annual Checkups?
Much like the human body, your car relies on a series of interconnected systems working together for optimal efficiency. These systems exist in a complex environment where individual parts undergo varying degrees of stress, movement, age and failure for all kinds of reasons, causing larger breakdowns as they do so.
Much like the body, this doesn’t always happen overnight and it isn’t always immediately noticeable. For this reason, annual car maintenance and checkups are important in much the same way that getting an annual physical exam is important. It’s a good idea to get a car inspected at regular intervals by a professional because the well-being of your vehicle can affect not only your wallet, but your safety as well.
Sweat the Small Stuff
A small leak might not seem like a big deal at first (and maybe it isn’t), but ignore it for long enough and that blown head gasket could cost you a new engine. A mechanic who performs regular checkups should be familiar with warning signs, common problems in your vehicle and parts that tend to wear over time. No one loves the inconvenience and cost of taking your car off the road for inspection or small repairs, but one little problem can influence a whole host of others.
It’s best to spend a little time and money now rather than a lot of time and money later if a small problem creates a big one. Being proactive is the number one rule in car maintenance.
The Best Offense
Cars are designed to run for optimum efficiency, so small items like corroded spark plugs and under-filled tires waste fuel in measurable ways. Your local mechanic will have the necessary tools to check that everything is within spec, and some will even run a basic engine trouble code scan for free.
Keeping on top of the little things pays off. Having everything in good running order extends the lifespan of your vehicle so it can serve you for years to come and ultimately maintain a higher resale value.
A Trusty Steed
The best reason for regular checkups is to ensure safety and reliability. Some car parts are expected to wear over time — necessary ones like brake pads and tire tread. Tread is something you might notice yourself, but unless you have a jack and know how to climb under your vehicle to safely assess brake condition, having a professional take a look at least once a year could mean the difference between a pleasant ride home and a potentially dangerous one.
Don’t take the safety of your vehicle for granted. If components do fail, a trained eye will see the warning signs immediately. It might feel like your vehicle is driving just fine, but it’s best to take a professional’s advice where safety is concerned.
Finding a technician or repair shop you can trust is a big part of vehicle maintenance. Like a doctor who has known you for years, forging a good relationship with an auto repair professional will allow the extra attention to detail that familiarity provides. Take a proactive role in your safety and the welfare of your vehicle and it could pay off in more ways than one.
Photo Courtesy of Blair Lampe.