Ways Routine Car Maintenance Can Save You Money

Maybe you think that an automotive shop telling you need routine car maintenance is a bit suspicious. It’s just a way to drum up business, right?

Wrong. Our continual reminders to get routine car maintenance are actually a PSA to help you save money. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at how routine car maintenance can lower your vehicle cost of ownership.

Save on Fuel

One of the most notable costs of owning a car is fuel because you need it. All. The. Time. There’s no way to control the price of gas, so the only way you can save at the pump is to refuel less often. And the only way to reduce how much gas your car needs is to make sure that your engine is operating at peak efficiency. And what does it take to do that?

Routine service that helps maintain fuel efficiency include:

  • Tire pressure checks—under-inflated tires create more friction, requiring more power—i.e., gas—to move.
  • Alignment checks—wheels that are out of alignment can create drag similar to under-inflated tires.
  • Air filter changes—peak combustion efficiency requires the right ratio of clean air and gas. Dirty filters either allow dirty air into the engine chamber or not enough, both of which reduce the amount of power produced every cycle.
  • Fuel injector cleaning—just as air filters can choke air, dirty fuel injectors can reduce the amount of fuel getting into the cylinders, reducing power potential.
  • Spark plug and O2 sensor checks/replacement—water and gas don’t ignite themselves, so you need to make sure you have spark plugs that fire consistently on time to do the job.

Every service left neglected reduces fuel efficiency. Typically, if one service has been neglected, so have others, compounding the loss of MPGs, possibly by more than 40%!

Save on Maintenance and Repairs

Routine maintenance, no matter what it is, is going to be significantly less expensive than repairs. Here are a few telling examples:

Oil change vs. engine repair

An average oil change costs about $40, more if you opt for synthetic oil. It may be slightly more if you take your vehicle to a shop with ASE-certified technicians, but then you get expert eyes on your vehicle that may identify other issues that can be effectively troubleshot.

If you skip oil changes to save money, you save yourself nothing. Dirty and/or low engine oil increases friction and heat in your engine, which wears down the components faster. Engine wear will first cost you at the pump because fuel efficiency declines. Excessive wear is even more expensive because there are some types of engine damage that cannot be repaired. You simply need to rebuild or replace your engine, in which case, your talking a minimum of $3,000, likely more, especially if you have a newer vehicle and/or heavy-duty truck.

The math

In a single year, at most, you will probably need 4 oil changes—a grand total of $160, just under $175 at the current ABQ tax rate. We’ll round up to $200 for simplicity’s sake. Compared to an engine replacement on the cheap end, routine maintenance saves you about $2800!

Transmission fluid flush or drain and fill vs. transmission replacement

Next to your engine, your transmission is one of the most vital parts of your powertrain and one of the most expensive to work on. Like your engine, a poorly maintained transmission will first cost you at the pump because you’ll likely experience gear slipping that can keep your car from getting or staying in the gear that achieves the highest fuel efficiency.

The heartbreaker about transmission maintenance is that you can do one of the most important services absolutely free—checking transmission fluid levels. If you consider drive time (because transmission fluid should be checked when your car is hot), the whole process may take 20 minutes.

If you discover low transmission fluid, you can add more yourself. DIY transmission maintenance may run you about $100 once you get all the proper supplies (check your owner’s manual to find out what those are). If you don’t feel confident in your ability to replenish your transmission fluid or your visual inspection shows dirty transmission fluid, then you need professional service. Yet even the costliest of transmission maintenance services—a transmission flush—typically costs $250.

The math

The transmission maintenance service you are most likely to need is a fluid change, which is recommended every 30-50,000 miles (check your owner’s manual). If you drive the average number of miles each year—12,000—and follow your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, you’ll need a transmission fluid change about every 2½ years. If this is one of the years that transmission service comes due, you’ll spend maybe $150. Compare that to the average cost of transmission replacement (according to Transmission Repair Cost Guide)—anywhere from $1800 to $3400 and routine maintenance could save you more than $1600 in one year!

Save on Time and Associated Expenses

Comparing actual costs does not tell the whole story about routine maintenance’s cost-saving potential. You also need to consider associated costs, like car rental. Plus, there are costs that are hard to quantify like:

  • Lost opportunities because of lack of reliable transportation
  • Time lost to coordinating repairs and substitute transportation instead of working, running errands or the countless other items on your to-do list
  • Increased stress from the increased hassle and expense that exceeds your budget

Your time is valuable. Routine car maintenance helps minimize time wasted on preventable repairs. Routine car maintenance at Quanz Auto Body helps you save even more time because you can schedule your service. We also provide free shuttle service to and from our shop to your work or home so you don’t have to sit and wait. Contact us to start realizing the time and cost savings of routine vehicle maintenance!