A d v a n c e d A u t o M a i n t e n a n c e
The following strategies are essential to getting your vehicle running superbly and keeping it running superbly:
Proactive auto maintenance versus reactive auto maintenance...
These practices represent a proactive approach to auto maintenance and will result in your vehicle running at its best all of the time. They’ll also save you a heck of a lot of time and money. There are two options for running a motor vehicle, the reactive approach to auto maintenance and the proactive approach to auto maintenance:
In the context of all the systems on the vehicle, the second option, represented by the practices listed above, always requires less time and money than the first option. ALWAYS!
The trials and tribulations of reactive auto maintenance...
In earlier years, many people organised the maintenance of their vehicles by working on them only when something went wrong. (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”) This is a reactive approach to auto maintenance because the owner reacts when a problem develops by getting it fixed. The problem with this approach is that if a vehicle owner waits for a problem to develop with their vehicle, they’re allowing their vehicle to suffer excessive, avoidable wear and in some cases, damage.
Reactive auto maintenance often leads to expensive repair bills...
For example, a vehicle owner may wait to change the engine oil until they can see that the engine oil is pitch black on the dipstick and hear that the engine is much noisier. However, waiting for these symptoms to materialise means that excessive contaminants such as tiny metal particles from the moving engine parts have already been allowed to accumulate in the oil, rendering the oil excessively abrasive to those moving parts and exacerbating the wear of those parts that the engine oil is meant to protect. In more serious cases, a vehicle owner may neglect to check or change their automatic transmission fluid for a long period of time, causing the automatic transmission to cease to function properly or cease to function at all. This kind of scenario is relatively common among motorists and carries a high financial price tag in terms of the work required to fix the automatic transmission.
Reactive auto maintenance is inconvenient, time-consuming and expensive...
An additional problem with the reactive approach to auto maintenance is that it’s actually very inconvenient and time-consuming. At first sight, the reactive approach looks to be very convenient and time-saving. The vehicle is neglected until something goes wrong, which frees up the time and finances of the owner to be devoted to other things until something does go wrong. However, when the inevitable occurs and the vehicle does eventually require repair, the time and money required to carry out the repair for the particular system that failed (eg. power steering system) is usually a lot greater than any time and money saved by avoiding the proper maintenance of that aspect of the vehicle.
When a vehicle develops a problem serious enough that it can no longer be driven until it’s repaired (eg. failed automatic transmission), the inconvenience to the owner is immense. They virtually become a servant to the vehicle and have to attend to its every whim until it’s running properly again. They need to take it to the repair shop and then leave it there for however long they’re told the repair is going to take. They don’t have much control over this length of time because they’ve waited until the vehicle absolutely requires attention before acting. So they have to accept whatever timeframe the mechanic they use tells them.
Then they need to organise themselves with alternative transport while the vehicle is off the road and being repaired, which is pretty inconvenient in relation to all of the day to day things that they still need to do such as travel to work or care for their children. With the vehicle now in the repair shop, they’re suddenly compelled to organise the means of payment for the repair. They’ve got no choice in this matter and little control over the cost. When they want the vehicle back they’re going to have to pay for its release and the ransom for unscheduled repairs is generally high.
It’s difficult to see the vehicle owner as being the master and the vehicle as being the servant under this scenario involving reactive auto maintenance. That’s because the vehicle owner is not the master but has become the servant and the vehicle is not the servant but has become the master. I’ve certainly experienced this scenario myself and it’s no fun at all. There has to be a better way, and there is.
The superiority of proactive auto maintenance...
Nowadays, more people recognise the necessity of a proactive approach to auto maintenance in order to get the best out of their vehicles for the minimum investment of time and money. The proactive approach to auto maintenance involves accepting that certain maintenance procedures MUST be performed on the vehicle on a routine basis in order to keep the vehicle running at its best, to minimise wear on the vehicle and to avoid damage to the vehicle. The vehicle owner who uses this proactive approach understands that keeping the maintenance up-to-date means that they’ll actually prevent bigger and more expensive problems from occurring later on, in addition to minimising wear on their vehicle.
Habits of the proactive vehicle owner...
In contrast to the reactive vehicle owner who neglects their automatic transmission, the proactive vehicle owner makes sure that the fluid in their transmission is drained, flushed and renewed every 12 months or 20,000 kilometres (12,000 miles), whichever comes first, and even installs an external filter on the oil cooler line of the transmission to capture tiny metal particles that have sheared off of the moving parts of the transmission and which would exacerbate wear inside the transmission if they were allowed to keep moving freely about in the fluid.
Not satisfied with the filter manufacturer’s recommendation to change this external filter every 12 months or 20,000 kilometres (12,000 miles), whichever comes first, the proactive vehicle owner decides to change the external filter every 6 months or 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles), whichever comes first, because they know that the transmission has an extremely demanding job to do and they want to avoid the filter becoming clogged.
The proactive vehicle owner is happy to perform all of this automatic transmission maintenance at a cost of less than $250 per year because they know that it’s just a fraction of the cost of having to have the whole automatic transmission rebuilt if it fails, not to mention the inconvenience that would cause. A key issue here is cash flow. It’s much more manageable to pay $250 per year to properly maintain an automatic transmission than it is to suddenly be confronted by a $2,500 bill for the rebuilding of the entire transmission following transmission failure.
Proactive auto maintenance leads to less stress and better vehicle performance...
Whereas the reactive vehicle owner is a slave to the demands of their vehicle when it ceases to function properly and must put other parts of their life on hold to attend to those demands, the proactive vehicle owner is the master of their vehicle and is predictably more relaxed and less stressed. The proactive vehicle owner knows that they have a certain window of time within which to organise for the routine maintenance to be performed on their transmission on a six-monthly basis and they’re able to find a convenient time that fits in with their busy schedule.
Furthermore, they may even start to enjoy organising the maintenance on their vehicle in this proactive manner, because they know how much time and money they’re saving and how much stress they’re avoiding, all while their vehicle runs at its best without missing a beat.
Does this all sound too good to be true? It’s not. Your vehicle can run as well as the day you bought it (and probably better). Proactive maintenance is the key to making this a reality. This website is all about letting you know every single way I’ve discovered over the past fifteen years to make your motoring experience less stressful, more relaxing and less expensive while at the same time ensuring that your vehicle runs at its best all of the time.
Proactive auto maintenance is always cheaper than reactive auto maintenance...
The things I suggest may sometimes seem like they require a lot of effort but they always require less effort than the alternative of letting a particular aspect of the vehicle fall into disrepair, which always requires costly repairs. The reality is that almost every part of a vehicle will fail eventually if it’s neglected. In the context of a particular system on the vehicle (eg. power steering system), proactive auto maintenance will usually require less time and money than the alternative of letting that system fail and then repairing it. In the context of all of the systems on the vehicle, proactive auto maintenance will always require less time and money than the alternative of letting all the systems on the vehicle deteriorate and then repairing them. ALWAYS!
Proactive auto maintenance is cheaper than buying a replacement vehicle...
There’s a line of thought around that keeping on top of auto maintenance isn’t really that important, since there’s always the alternative of buying another vehicle, either new or second-hand, when the vehicle no longer runs as well as desired (if at all!). However the reality is that there’s an enormous investment of time and money required in this approach.
A replacement vehicle will have to be paid for and if it’s financed, the cost of interest is massive, taking an even greater toll considering the fact that motor vehicles in general are depreciating assets. The time required to find a replacement vehicle, arrange for transfer of ownership at the governmental roads authority and sell or dispose of the vehicle being replaced is no small exercise. I know that I’d much rather spend time doing the things I enjoy than have to change vehicles every two, three or even five years.
In the case of replacing the vehicle with another second-hand vehicle, the second-hand vehicle essentially comprises all of the same vehicle systems and components as the vehicle being replaced (ie. vehicle body, engine, cooling system, transmission, differential, brake system et cetera). There’s no guarantee when purchasing a second-hand vehicle that all of these systems or components are going to be functioning correctly or in good working condition. In fact, most second-hand vehicles on the market are being sold with some kind of deficiency. People who own vehicles which are functioning well in all areas are less likely to put them up for sale. Instead, they hang on to them for as long as possible to enjoy the benefits that these well-kept vehicles provide.
The point is that it’s often easier and less expensive to simply get all the systems on your current vehicle working properly by taking better care of it, than to replace it with another second-hand vehicle which will probably have its own bunch of problems that need attention. This is especially true if your current vehicle is in reasonable condition already.
Benefits of proactive auto maintenance...
If you follow the proactive approach to auto maintenance, you WILL enjoy the following benefits:
Proactive auto maintenance is a marathon, not a sprint...
There’s a lot of information on this website and it might seem a bit overwhelming at first. However the reality is that all of the methods outlined on this website can be implemented over time as the opportunity arises. Nobody wants to have to work on all the different systems and components of their vehicle in a short space of time. It would be pretty exhausting! Most of us have other things we’d much prefer to be doing than working on our vehicle or organising for that work to be done.
The methods outlined on this website can generally be implemented one at a time as the opportunity arises. Every single one of these methods is going to improve the performance of your vehicle, saving you time and money down the track. Considering how often we find ourselves with our hand going to our wallet or purse to pay for vehicle expenses, that’s a pretty short track. It’ll be a pretty short wait from the point at which you start implementing these methods to the point at which you start saving time and money.
Copyright 2016 Andrew Mackinnon. All rights reserved.