Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In St. Louis Metro
by: Mike Najjar
There’s a segment of the St. Louis Metro population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the MO area over time. Many St. Louis Metro motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.
Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, St. Louis Metro drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.
Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.
Now, the ignition system in your sedan is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Master Auto Repair for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.
Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in St. Louis Metro have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.
Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your sedan will perform better and return better fuel economy.
Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is thatmajor repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern sedan engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.
And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.
For example, your sedan engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.
Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Master Auto Repair, we have been taking care of all those little things for 17 years. Your sedan still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in St. Louis Metro did not go away.
|Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In St. Louis Metro was written by Mike Najjar of Master Auto and Tire|