Many of the most common repairs can easily be avoided if you pay attention to the preventive maintenance requirements. If you have an owner’s manual, it will give you a maintenance schedule. Almost any National auto repair center will print out a maintenance schedule for you, if you ask them.
The general perception of “Auto Maintenance” is a way to get more money from the car owner and it is really not necessary. The only response I can think of is a dentist tells you to have your teeth cleaned every six months. Most everyone will procrastinate with this as well. However, checkups prevent major problems and may avoid a cavity, root canal, or at worst gum surgery.
So, back to your car. I think seeing is believing and it cuts down on all the chatter. Ask to see what is being recommended after you view the maintenance schedule.
If your computer (in your car) sees a problem and/or failure, your check engine light comes on. This does not mean, you should get out your deck of cards and put the ace of spades over it. It means, “Houston, we have a problem.” Take it in to see why that light is on. If it is something non car threatening, then you may choose to ignore it. However if it something that can cause more damage or become more expensive to repair, you might decide to prevent the latter. And remember, once you find out the code and know why it is on, you don’t know if another code set for a different problem. It does not get any greener or blink when the computer sees a second or third problem that might be more damaging. Most often it is related to a misfire, evap (emissions), EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system. These types of repairs should not be ignored and can become costly when ignored.
Your Catalytic Converter (sometimes you will have more than one) burns any unburned gas in the engine exhaust. It will fail due to getting plugged, a collapsed baffle or catalyst, or from rust due to a leak. Generally this is avoidable, if you keep up with engine maintenance, such as tune-ups.
Have the engine oil changed regularly, (every 3,000 miles), if using synthetic blend or less. Don’t wait until 6,000 because that likely means that the oil has broken down and the properties that were protecting and cooling your engine no longer exist. Changing your oil will help prevent engine repairs. The new oil helps protect your engine at high temperatures and allows it to flow in the winter. The rule of thumb is 3,000 miles or 3 months. So you think it has been 3-1/2 months since your last oil change and you didn’t drive anywhere near 3,000 miles? You still need to get that oil changed. The reason there is a “time frame” stipulation is because the oil degrades over time. Think of all the products in your pantry with dates. You never opened them and the date has expired. They are still expired. It’s simple, products break down.
Remember, maintenance doesn’t “cost”. It actually “pays