The real cost of putting off car maintenance

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The real cost of putting off car maintenance

Maintaining your car can become expensive. You have to pay service fees, repair fees and you might even have to pay for pricey replacements. However, putting off car maintenance can cost you even more in the long run. If you leave maintenance for too long, you will have more to repair and replace, pushing your costs up to exorbitant prices.

If you are looking to buy one of the many cheap second-hand cars for sale in South Africa, then you will need to factor in the cost of car maintenance, as this is something you cannot ignore. Outlined below is the real cost of putting off car maintenance.


Oil changes

Changing your oil helps to keep your engine clean and lubricated. This helps it to run better and allows your car to remain safe on the roads. Think of it as healthy “blood” for the heart of your car. Experts recommend changing your oil every 5 000 kilometres or every three months.

If you choose not to change your car’s oil regularly (or at all), the costs can be steep. It could mean that you have to buy an entire new engine, which can set you back up to R10 000, depending on your vehicle. Oil changes will cost you significantly less per year, so it is best to make this a habit that starts with your very first car.


Tyre rotations

At many auto garages, tyre rotations are free or are highly affordable. Front tyres and rear tyres wear in different ways and at different times, which means that you will have to keep note of how your tyres look on a regular basis.

Tyre rotations on cars with four equal tyres help the tyres to last for longer by distributing the wear equally among them. You should get your tyres rotated every 10 000 to 12 000 kilometers. It might cost you a small amount each time, but it will be significantly less than having to replace the entire set sooner than you need to.


Brake service

You should have your brakes inspected at least once a year. They will be inspected for any wear and tear, and you will be told whether or not you need to replace them. Brake pads are often the first component in the brake system that need to be replaced, and damaged brake pads will affect the brake rotors, too.

If you are not sure when you should take your car for a brake inspection, listen out for any grinding or squeaking noises when you brake. Having your brake pads replaced in a timeous manner might seem expensive, but replacing the rotors and the drums will cost you almost double if the brake pads wear them down. Having a regular brake service and inspection will save you from having to spend too much money.


Timing belt

The timing belt controls the camshafts in your engine. It ensures that they open and close at the correct times to make sure that your car runs smoothly. A failed timing belt will mean that your car cuts out and that the car will run slowly until the car stops. This can be dangerous if you are driving in a high-traffic area.

Timing belts usually last for up to 100 000 kilometres, but this is something you will need to discuss with your mechanic. A timing belt replacement is much cheaper than having to replace your engine if the timing belt slips and damages the engine. You will need to keep an eye on your odometer to see when it is time to check your timing belt, but have it regularly checked regardless in order to ascertain its condition. Leaving it for too long will cause expensive damages.


PCV valves

The PCV valves are quite unassuming car parts. They are used to regulate your car’s crankcase pressure and ventilate the gases that come in through your car’s engine. They help to ensure that your car runs smoothly, without gathering too much sludge, grease and grime. Forgetting about this small part could lead to much larger damages.

After a year or two, based on the extent of the damage of your PCV valves, you could pay upwards of R500 in replacements and repairs. You should have your PCV valves checked at around the 32 000 kilometre mark. If you choose to ignore these valves for too long, you might need a new valve cover or even a new engine seal, which can be expensive. Remember to speak to your mechanic about checking these valves once you hit the year mark on your odometer.


Keeping it ship-shape

Regularly maintaining your car will save you money in the long run. You should replace your oil on a regular basis, and always have your tyres checked when putting in petrol. Tyre rotations are vital to keeping your car safe on the roads, as are brake services and PCV valve replacements.

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