Do I really need new fluid? As my air filter really that dirty? Can’t it wait? These are questions that most people have when it comes to doing routine or preventative maintenance. The truth is, sure, it can wait and you most likely won’t see extreme damage immediately, but that doesn’t mean that damage is not being done every mile that the service is postponed.
The longer maintenance is pushed back and forgotten about, the more damage is being done to components within your vehicle and the higher costs you will incur down the road.
Filters are items that keep your car running strong and efficiently. Air, fuel, and transmission filters are the major ones on any given vehicle. These are not time consuming or expensive items to have replaced, yet still people will overlook staying on top of it. Not replacing these first two at the scheduled times will cause reduced fuel mileage, as well as making the engine work harder. Not replacing the transmission filter will cause reduced fluid flow leading to increased heat, as well as potentially allowing harmful deposits into the transmission. Either way you are losing money by waiting to perform these tasks.
Fluids are designed to protect many components within the engine, transmission, steering and brake systems. Keeping clean, fresh fluids within these systems will prolong the life of every component within that particular system. Fluid flushes are inexpensive and not time consuming. Wouldn’t it be better to spend an hour or two getting fluids flushed instead of having a full day or two where you are without a vehicle? Not to mention the repair bill at the end of the procedures.
Oil changes are only $35-$60 and should be done every 3,000 miles on every single vehicle. The other flushes have varying intervals depending on the car, so consult your owner’s manual or ask your trusted repair facility to find out how often they should be done. These other fluid flushes range from about $100-$200 for any fluid, unless you drive an import or relatively new vehicle requiring a special fluid, which may bump that up no more than another hundred. Not bad considering a water pump, power steering pump, or other minor component can cost about $500-$800 to replace, and an engine or transmission replacement which can cost $4000-$8000.
To put it in perspective, the National Car Care Council, through a recent survey of cars at malls, schools, and businesses around the country, found this information:
54% of vehicles had low tire tread
38% had low or dirty engine oil
28% had inadequate cooling/anti-freezing protection
19% had cracking belts
16% had dirty air filters
10% had low or dirty brake fluid