There are a lot of questions in life that you can’t answer with a simple yes or no or even with a few concise words. Take the question “Is It Okay to Skip Your Auto Maintenance Schedule?” for example. There is a lot involved with a question like this so it’s better to break it down and look at it a little closer. Scheduled maintenance is kind of a double edged sword because part of it is designed to protect the warranty and part of it is designed to put some money in your car dealer’s pocket. Let’s analyze it a little further and it will help you decide what is best for your individual situation.
The very first thing you should do before deciding whether or not to follow your dealers recommended maintenance schedule or to make one for yourself that you feel is more realistic is to read your owner’s manual from cover to cover. Although the owner’s manual certainly does not read like a suspense novel it contains a lot of useful information and some of it directly contradicts the maintenance schedule that your vehicle dealer wants to put you on. After all, who knows better about the vehicle you are driving than the company that built it; most auto manufacturers spend a lot of time and effort on making very informative and accurate owner’s manuals.
Oil Changes every 3000 miles
This is one you don’t want to mess with too much as it is the most critical scheduled maintenance that your automobile will get in its life time. Also, if you ask just about anyone who actually changes their automobile oil every 3000 miles you will find that a very large majority of them had engines that lasted well beyond the expected life for them; oil changes are truly this critical.
With that being said, if your manufacturer calls for oil changes only every 7500 miles in your owner’s manual, you would probably be perfectly safe changing your oil every 5000 miles or so.
Lubricating the chassis
This is one of those often pushed scheduled maintenance items that you really don’t need to get done so often with today’s advanced parts and the fact you could easily learn to do it yourself in just a few short minutes.
Transmission Fluid Changes
One of the real grey areas as far as scheduled maintenance is concerned is how often to change your transmission fluid. Dealers often schedule it at 30,000 miles but if you read the manual it usually will recommend something closer to 80,000 miles. That is a pretty big discrepancy and since the dealer rep gets a kickback on the service you want to be a little leery about the lower figure.
Tire Rotation, Balancing and alignment
This is one that may actually pay for itself even if done more often than you may need it. This will help make your tires last significantly longer and everyone knows tires are one of the most expensive wear items on your vehicle.
Engine tune up
With today’s very progressive engine technology you most likely don’t have to tune up your engine as often as your maintenance schedule recommends but throwing in a new set of spark plugs yourself on a regular basis is very inexpensive and will keep your engine running smoothly.
A good tip to remember if your scheduled maintenance is included for free in your purchase you should always take the time to get that maintenance done because it can never hurt.
So there is no easy answer as to whether it’s ok to skip some of your auto maintenance schedule because some parts of it are critical and other parts of it have a lot of flexibility built into when they should be done. As the time passes and you get a feel for what is going on with your maintenance schedule you will better be able to make decisions on which task are critical to do, what you can just as easily do yourself and what is just a ploy for the dealer to make a little more money on.