One book that is published in the millions, but seldom read is your owner’s manual. You should take the time to become familiar with it. One important part of the owner’s manual is the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. It is very important that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding maintenance. We have published generally accepted maintenance guidelines, but one should refer to your owner’s manual for exact maintenance intervals. We can also print one for your specific make and model for you if you do not have a manual.
You will probably find in your owner’s manual, the distinction between “normal” and “severe” driving conditions. Because of the distinction, your manual may recommend that under “normal” conditions that you change your oil every 7,500 miles, and under “severe” conditions, you change it every 3,000 miles. Most of us do not want to think we are in the “severe” category, but we probably are. The “normal” is more like “ideal” conditions like long highway trips rather than in town driving. “Severe” is really “average” driving conditions. “Severe” conditions are usually short trips less than four miles in cold weather. 4 out of 5 drivers drive under “severe” conditions, so to play it safe, you should follow the “severe” recommendations.
10 reasons why following your maintenance schedule can be beneficial:
- Cut repair costs. Discovering a worn component before it creates major problems can save big money.
- Safety. A poorly maintained vehicle can drive you into a serious accident.
- Better performance. This translates to improved fuel economy as well as drivability.
- Saving the environment. Under-maintained vehicles are serious contributors to air pollution.
- Improved trade-in/resale value. A well-maintained vehicle can be worth 2-3 times as much as the one that has been neglected.
- Better handling. Incorrect wheel alignment, worn suspension components and/or tires can cause poor ride and handling.
- Ability to plan ahead. When a checkup indicates future need for replacement of a part, you can budget accordingly.
- Dependability. A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to stall, fail to start, or otherwise leave you stranded.
- Driving enjoyment. It’s more comfortable and more fun to drive a car that holds the road and rides well.
- Pride of ownership. It is said that your car is an extension of your personality. Keep it looking like you care.