It is an inescapable fact that vehicles require maintenance. If ignored, the consequences of neglect can quickly become a major expense and an unacceptable risk. Caring for an automobile may seem like a drain on the bank account as well as a time-consuming inconvenience. However, automotive professionals and technicians will testify that inattention is often the cause of even more inconvenience and expense. This is especially true for commercial vehicles that log over ten thousand miles monthly. Towing of a large van or an emergency truck repair, while sometimes unavoidable, can be minimized by taking a few simple steps.
Schedule Routine Maintenance in Advance
Most vehicles come with an owner’s manual that includes recommended maintenance and the mileage at which it should be performed. Advanced planning and scheduling of these routine maintenance items can be accomplished by projecting average miles of operation per month or per year. Some auto repair shops offer the courtesy of advanced scheduling and will notify owners when specific maintenance is due. By scheduling in advance owners can avoid the tendency to forget or procrastinate these items.
Document Vehicle Operations
Another useful practice is to keep a log in the vehicle and regularly record specific information. Writing down the number of gallons of fuel pumped when refueling and recording the odometer reading will allow for the calculation of fuel efficiency in miles per gallon (MPG). Another useful piece of information to record is maintenance activities. For example, when an oil change is done or when adding antifreeze or brake fluid, writing down the date and the amount of any fluid added is helpful. Finally, adding a description of any abnormal operating events such as odd noises, changes in performance or fluid leaks can enable the diagnosis of problems that arise.
Cars and trucks are complex mechanisms built out of rotating elements with bearings, linkages, electrical systems and several fluids. It is nothing short of amazing that they perform as well as they do. Regular maintenance can reduce the need for major repair while improving performance. A little bit of effort can yield significant savings and reduced highway headaches.