Preventive Maintenance Vs. Repair Costs: Why Maintenance Is Way Cheaper
You know that failing to maintain your car can lead to costly breakdowns, but you probably don't know just how costly these breakdowns can be. You really need to compare the monetary difference between routine car maintenance, and what could happen if you ignored the maintenance. You aren't likely to "forget" about preventive service once you have this knowledge. Here are two types of preventive maintenance, and the worst that could happen if you ignore them:
Engine Oil Change
The engine oil prevents damage to different parts of the engine by reducing friction between moving parts and cooling the engine. The high temperatures of the engine break down the oil as the engine performs these functions. The oil also absorbs contaminants, such as dirt and water. Over time, the oil becomes less effective at its jobs. Changing the oil will cost you less than $100.
Most cars are designed to use the same oil for about 5,000 miles, after which the oil becomes less effective, and engine damage can follow. The moving parts of the engine start to grind against each other, and the engine also becomes overheated. In the worst case scenario, your engine can experience catastrophic failure, and it will cost you over $2,000 to replace it.
Timing Belt Replacement
The timing belt ensures synchronized movement between the crankshaft and the camshaft. This synchronized movement of the two is necessary so that the engine's intake and exhaust valves open at proper times. That is the only way the engine's combustion cycles run as they should, and the tire rotations are smooth. Replacing a timing belt will set you back between $300 and $1,000 depending on the car you drive.
The timing belt, just like other parts of your car, will eventually wear out. In fact, most car manufacturers advise their clients to change their timing belts between 600,000 and 100,000 miles. If you continue using a damaged timing belt, it can cause costly damage if it breaks when the car is in motion. In the worst case scenario and assuming that you have an interference engine (that doesn't provide clearance between engine valves and pistons), the engine can even break in half, and you will need to replace it.
Therefore, study the manufacture's recommendations for your car's maintenance schedule and follow it religiously. If you bought a used car whose history isn't clear to you, talk to an experienced mechanic to help you figure out what needs to be changed.