January 28, 2016
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to take better care of your car? Are you guilty of driving with a lit check engine light for months before getting it checked out? If so, this article is for you! Our Maryland auto maintenance pros have put together a list of helpful tips and strategies to help you make sure you never miss another maintenance appointment.
Know Which Maintenance Your Car Needs
Of course, you can’t keep up with scheduled maintenance if you don’t know what it is. The best source for this sort of information is the owner’s manual that came with your vehicle. Read it and feel free to highlight any recurring or milestone maintenance. If you don’t have a manual, go to the website of your car’s manufacturer and download one. Alternatively, you can sign up at carcare.com, enter your vehicle information and view your customized service schedule.
Here are some maintenance basics you absolutely shouldn’t ignore for the sake of your safety and lifespan of your car:
- Oil change
- Tire rotation and balancing
- Tire replacement
- Engine and cabin air filters replacement
- Brake service
- Coolant service
Sometimes, we buy used cars that come with little to no history on what’s been done in terms of maintenance. In that case, feel free to bring your car to Hillmuth for a complete inspection. We’ll let you know if any of the parts look new or if something is worn enough to need a replacement.
Set Aside a Budget
Even if you don’t normally track your spending or budget every penny out of your paycheck, it’s smart to have a car maintenance budget. This is one of the reasons car maintenance gets skipped so often, because people don’t have disposable funds for it. Maintenance becomes easier to follow through when you can just take money out of your monthly or annual budget and not feel a hit to your overall finances.
Depending on how much you drive, set aside a few hundred dollars a year for the above mandatory maintenance. Then set aside at least $1,000 for unexpected expenses, such as an expensive part that fails. If the year passes without emergencies, you can use this money to catch up on maintenance that is not required, but would be nice to have, such as transmission fluid service or auto detailing. Or you could use it for performance upgrades, such as new rims, winter tires or new suspension.
Put it On Your Calendar
It’s easy to forget about something you have to do 5 months from now. If you know you will forget, set a reminder. Put it on your paper calendar or in your calendar app on your phone. You can even put a sticker inside your car with the next maintenance date and type of service, so that you can make any necessary arrangements.
If you really hate car appointments, try to reward yourself for sticking to your schedule. Stop by your favorite ice cream shop on the way back or grant yourself an hour of “insert your guilty pleasure” for every hour you spend on car maintenance. And if you don’t trust yourself at all, partner up with your Maryland auto repair shop and ask them to give you a call when you are due for the next appointment. This way you’ll surely remember.
Find a Good Auto Repair Shop
It’s possible that your bad auto maintenance habits have to do with your experience at the auto repair shop you use. If you feel like you can’t trust your mechanic, you get constantly overcharged or they talk to you in a condescending manner, it’s understandable why you wouldn’t want to repeat this. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to find a new mechanic?
The Maryland auto repair shop you work with makes a big difference. When you have good customer service and quality labor at an affordable price, all this makes it much easier to keep coming back. If you are not happy with your current shop, consider giving Hillmuth a try. With four locations in Columbia, Clarksville, Glenwood and Gaithersburg, we make it easy for our clients to enjoy a consistently high level of care.
Give us a call or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.