The Maintenance Free Myth

Posted August 29, 2017 5:49 AM

Sometimes we hear people in Marengo say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Marengo drivers don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become,  fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in IA and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. This guy took his SUV in for the IA safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Marengo inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Marengo drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Marengo service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was shredded and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at Ben's Repair & Welding in Marengo recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better.  Plus, it is more economical to operate in IA. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to Ben's Repair & Welding in Marengo for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

Ben's Repair & Welding
385 W Miller Street
Marengo, IA 52301
319-642-5211



Search



Archive

December 2009 (4)
January 2010 (4)
February 2010 (4)
March 2010 (4)
April 2010 (5)
May 2010 (2)
June 2010 (3)
July 2010 (4)
August 2010 (4)
September 2010 (3)
October 2010 (3)
November 2010 (5)
December 2010 (4)
January 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
March 2011 (52)
April 2011 (4)
May 2011 (4)
June 2011 (2)
August 2011 (3)
September 2011 (2)
October 2011 (2)
December 2011 (4)
February 2012 (1)
March 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
May 2012 (1)
June 2012 (3)
July 2012 (1)
August 2012 (1)
November 2012 (1)
December 2012 (2)
March 2013 (1)
April 2013 (3)
May 2013 (2)
October 2013 (5)
November 2013 (2)
January 2014 (1)
February 2014 (5)
March 2014 (1)
July 2014 (4)
August 2014 (7)
September 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
November 2014 (4)
December 2014 (4)
January 2015 (5)
February 2015 (4)
March 2015 (4)
April 2015 (5)
May 2015 (2)
June 2015 (6)
July 2015 (1)
September 2015 (2)
October 2015 (5)
November 2015 (4)
December 2015 (3)
February 2016 (2)
March 2016 (4)
April 2016 (4)
May 2016 (5)
June 2016 (4)
July 2016 (5)
August 2016 (4)
September 2016 (4)
October 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
December 2016 (4)
January 2017 (5)
February 2017 (4)
March 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
May 2017 (3)
June 2017 (5)
July 2017 (5)
August 2017 (3)
September 2017 (2)

Categories

Air Conditioning (7)Alignment (12)Auto Safety (1)Automotive News (4)Battery (9)Brakes (9)Cabin Air Filter (7)Check Engine Light (2)Cooling System (9)Dashboard (2)Diagnostics (4)Diesel Maintenance (2)Differential Service (2)Drive Train (7)Emergency Items (1)Engine Air Filter (3)Exhaust (6)Fluids (11)Fuel Economy (4)Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down (1)Fuel System (39)Headlamps (3)Inspection (6)Keys to a long lasting vehicle (3)Maintenance (50)Monitoring System (3)Older Vehicles (3)Parts (9)Safety (5)Serpentine Belt (4)Service Intervals (8)Service Standards (11)Shocks & Struts (7)Shocks and Struts (1)Steering (5)Suspension (2)Timing Belt (4)Tire Pressure Monitoring System (1)Tires and Wheels (38)Transmission (5)Warranty (2)Windshield Wipers (6)