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Busted: The Maintenance Free Myth

Today's new vehicle is made better than ever before. Surveys show the quality of the vehicle and the components on the vehicle are made better than ever, BUT is today's vehicle maintenance free?

Because the occurrence of breakdowns where the car in inoperable are so much less today, it's easier for the vehicle owner to put off routine maintenance. Have you ever ridden in a car with a check engine light on? Some of us have driven a vehicle for months with that pesky engine light illuminated.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be "tuned-up" every so often. If we didn't perform this type of maintenance, our vehicle was sure to start acting up or use more fuel than it should.

This is no longer the case. 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 why pay attention to the service recommendations from the maker of our vehicle or our trusted service center? The answer is simple…with improved vehicle quality the value of the vehicle has also risen. Unfortunately the price for repairs has drastically increased as well. Maintaining this investment with regular vehicle maintenance will cost much less in the long run than vehicle repairs.

When the vehicle breaks down or is in need of repairs, it more likely than ever that technicians need to diagnose the problem first. This has become a common cost passed on to the consumer as it should be due to the investment the service center must make in diagnostic equipment and repair information. After diagnostic cost comes the cost of the technician's time to repair the problem. Today's technician is highly trained to repair today's advanced vehicle. The cost of this technician's labor hour is more costly to your service center.

Bottom line, following maintenance advice from the vehicle maker and the advice from your service center will be much easier on the wallet than repair bills.

Posted November 1st, 2013

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