A whopping $462 billion - that's how much consumers in the US spent on new vehicles in 2019. That's a sharp increase of $8.4 billion from the year before.
This year, we're looking at even more price hikes. In January 2020, the estimated average transaction price of new vehicles was $33,982. That's $864 more than the average price back in January 2019.
With new cars costing so much, it's best to keep your current ride running smoothly for as long as possible, which is exactly what routine car maintenance is for. Giving your chariot the TLC it deserves will extend its life and keep all those creaks and squeaks away.
Ready to learn how vital routine auto care is and the roles you, as the owner, should play? Then let's dive right into it!
Prevent Your Beamer From Quickly Becoming a Beater
As of 2019, the typical vehicle in use in the US is 11.8 years old. That's more than a 12% increase over the last 10 years.
The main reason for this impressive spike? The exceptional improvements in automotive technology.
Auto parts and their manufacturing processes have improved a lot over the years. As a result, their quality and lifespan have gone up, and they can now better withstand the weather.
These tech upgrades, however, don't eliminate the need for routine car care. Yes, they do make parts last longer, but that only means they cut the number of times you need to carry out maintenance on your vehicle.
In short, they still need servicing, but less often over their service life.
Transmission fluid changes, for instance, used to be a must after every 30,000 miles or so. Today, many makes and models, like the Jeep Wrangler, require this only after 60,000 to 120,000 miles.
Of course, this still depends on the car make, model, and year, as well as your driving habits. The road conditions (highway, city, or off-road) you usually expose your chariot to are also a big key factor.
Either way, you should change your car's transmission fluid as needed, or it will overheat. After all, this fluid lubricates all the moving parts inside the transmission system. A lack of lubrication will create more friction, which in turn, creates excess heat.
Now, this is only one example, but as you can see, routine maintenance is key to preventing auto breakdowns.
Make Your Fuel Last Longer
Letting an air filter get too filthy can reduce fuel economy and lead to a misfiring engine. That, of course, is a lot more expensive to deal with compared to just getting new air filters when you need them.
That said, change your air filters after about 20,000 miles or so to help prevent it from becoming a gas-guzzler. For an average American who drives about 13,500 miles each year, you only need a new filter after a year and a half or so.
Crack Down on Early Signs of Disrepair
The average car owner spent almost $2,000 on vehicle repairs and upkeep over the last half-decade. Doing the math, that's about $400 a year for fixing and maintaining their rides.
Routine auto maintenance can help prevent the need for costly (and premature) repairs. For instance, a thorough engine inspection can help you detect a faulty main bearing cap.
Keep in mind that even the smallest crack in a bearing cap can lead to insufficient lubrication. Ultimately, this will lead to engine failure.
The bottom line is, routine tune-ups allow you to discover the early signs of car troubles. The sooner you unearth them, the sooner you can address them and prevent them from getting worse.
Fewer Costly Trips to the Mechanic
Only four in 10 Americans say they can cover unexpected car repairs worth $1,000. More than a third say they'd need to swipe their credit card, apply for a loan, or borrow money to cover these costs.
What's worse is that the most "unexpected" car repairs are actually a result of a lack of routine maintenance. That technically makes them expected, which means they're preventable most of the time.
Take cracks in head gaskets, cylinder heads, and engine blocks, for instance. A cracked or "blown" head gasket can result in the coolant, fuel, and oil to mix in the combustion chamber. If this happens, your car's engine may overheat, which will then drive its performance down.
Blown head gaskets also increase the risk of cylinder head cracks. If your engine overheats due to a blown gasket, the heat can also cause cylinder heads to crack. This will then cause the coolant and oil to leak out, which can further reduce engine performance.
Over time, a damaged gasket or cylinder head can lead to a cracked engine block. This can then compromise everything else inside the block, like the other cylinders. So, aside from letting fluids mix together, that tiny crack can also kill the rest of the parts housed by the block.
This is why you should never skip anything on your car maintenance schedule. By having a pro carefully inspect your ride, you’ll find out right away if there are any cracks or similar damage. This then gives you enough time for repairs before they turn into bigger problems.
Keep Your Ride Safe to Drive
A study found that from 2005 to 2007, vehicle failure may be to blame for up to 44,643 crashes in the US. Failed tires, wheels, and brakes are among the most common reasons.
While newer vehicles are less prone to defects, a lack of maintenance can compromise them.
Incorrect tire pressure can cause tire blowouts that can make you lose control of the car. Misaligned tires and wheels can also result in early tire wear and degradation. Worn brake pads can reduce the stopping ability of your ride.
Either way, all these problems can put you, your passengers, and other motorists in danger. Besides, many tire-related problems also reduce fuel economy.
That said, be sure to keep your tire pressure within the recommended levels. Most manufacturers say this should be within 30 and 35 PSI. You should also have your tires rotated after 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
As for brake pads and brake fluids, make sure you change them after about 60,000 miles.
Routine Car Maintenance is Essential for a Longer-Lasting Ride
There you have it, the most important roles (and benefits) of routine car maintenance. As you can see, regular upkeep and servicing can help your car last longer and perform better. Most importantly, it helps to ensure that your ride remains safe to operate.
Ready to make your car drive better and safer with new gear and replacement parts? Check out our comprehensive selection of vehicle parts and care products! Be sure to also check out our blog for more guides, such as yearly tune-up tips, to keep your car up to speed!