Study examines the levels of car maintenance

February 9, 2015 02:03 PM

Car maintenance is one of the biggest concerns for owners. Not only does proper care keep an automobile running smoothly and efficiently, it also helps retain value and prevent depreciation. But caring for all aspects of a vehicle requires constant dedication, and many motorists tend to fall behind in certain areas. 

Highlighting the importance of maintenance
Recently, the Toco Warranty Corp. released the National Car Maintenance Index to examine the overall status of car care in the U.S. The only way to earn a perfect score is to have all prescribed maintenance tasks completed in a timely manner, which means either on schedule or more often than needed. All participants were asked to describe their maintenance habits, including facts about how often they visit an auto repair franchise and what they usually focus on when upgrading their car. 

According to the report, Americans score a 76 out of 100. While that may be a respectable rating, there is plenty of room for improvement. It's also important to focus on forming good habits with regard to car care: Even if people haven't been the most vigilant in the past, it's not too late to start embracing the actions that can have a positive impact on your wallet and your vehicle. 

"As drivers make their New Year's resolutions, it is important to remember that good car care maintenance habits are essential to protect and extend the life of your car. With the average car owner keeping their car for 10 years, drivers should resolve to stay on top of their car's recommended maintenance schedule," said George Laird, a Toco spokesperson. 

Who performs regular maintenance? 
The National Car Maintenance Index also looked at the type of drivers who were more likely to be investing in the right auto repair. For instance, those motorists who have some sort of vehicle service contract or warranty are more likely to have the recommended work done. The same can be said for people who have children and those who live in urban or rural areas. 

Similarly, drivers of SUVs were the most likely to have a higher maintenance rating than their counterparts. This may be attributed to the need to maintain fuel efficiency or ensure the vehicle can handle some heavy-duty work, but that doesn't mean it's less important for owners of sedans or other types of cars to invest in maintenance. All drivers should be taking care of tasks for safety and financial purposes. 

Unsurprisingly, people who had recently spent money on car repair were more inclined to follow recommended maintenance. Anyone who realizes how expensive these fixes are likely want to avoid that kind of costly job in the future, and they know preventative maintenance is key to their savings. 

Stick to the schedule
Although drivers may know the type of vehicle maintenance they need and invest in important updates throughout the year, there are still ways they can improve. For example, the survey noted that most motorists are not following a schedule when it comes to completing these tasks. 

"In our survey, we found that drivers have an almost perfect track record of performing the car maintenance items, but fall behind in doing them as frequently as recommended," Laird said. "In fact, some items that drivers should be doing often, such as checking the battery and engine belts, are ones fewer drivers are doing as often as recommended." 

As a car owner, you need to be looking out for your vehicle's health at every turn. Take some of the pressure off yourself by enlisting the help of a professional and letting this expert take care of difficult jobs. 

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