It doesn’t matter if it only has 100 miles on it or it’s a lemon in the worst sense (but still manages to get you from Point A to Point B occasionally). Most people don’t take care of their cars in the best way possible. This leads to more frequent and costlier repairs, potentially higher insurance premiums, and less safety on the road. Even if you’re the most skilled driver imaginable, that doesn’t mean much when your car isn’t equipped to handle icy conditions or drunk drivers sharing the highway.
Unfortunately, it’s really easy to come up with excuses for skipping that scheduled maintenance or ignoring the check engine light. If you need a kick in the pants to change your bad habits, check out Mint’s list of the most expensive car repairs. With a little preventative care and foresight, many of these can be avoided. For example, a small crack in the windshield can turn into an emergency windshield replacement in a snap.
Here are the most common excuses for poor car care and how to change your perspective:
- “My mechanic recommends this just to make more money”
That might be true if you don’t research and find a reputable mechanic. “Upselling” is nothing new in any business, which is why you should cross check a mechanic’s recommendation with another mechanic as well as the owner’s manual. Everyone should have a mechanic they trust, and if you don’t there’s no time better than the present to start searching for one.
- “It’ll make X more miles”
Maybe, or maybe not. Do you really want to test fate and your luck with something as important and expensive as your car? There are many reasons why a check engine light (for example) might turn on, and Lifehacker has outlined a few of the most common for you. However, just because you think you “made it” another few miles doesn’t mean damage hasn’t been done under the hood.
- “It’s a recommendation, not a requirement”
While there’s some controversy over just how often an oil change really needs to take place, those “recommendations” are actually best practices for keeping your car running well as long as possible. No matter what you drive, it’s likely your biggest investment besides buying a house or taking out student loans. Why not protect it?
Schedule routing tune-ups each autumn and spring for the best results. Otherwise, you’re just flushing your investment down the toilet.