As long as there are cars, they need regular maintenance for as long as they exist. Without it, even the most reliable equipment in the world will not last even half of its resources. This is due to the fact that a simple car is assembled from thousands of parts that cannot be made equally durable. Maintenance is necessary in order to equalize the resources of nodes and mechanisms of different reliability.
Definition of maintenance
Vehicle maintenance is a set of preventive actions aimed at maintaining the functionality of all its mechanisms. For each model, the manufacturer develops a regulation that normalizes the frequency and plan of the required measures. In the case of a new car, the passage of MOT is a condition for maintaining the warranty. If the car is more than 5 years old, then these measures are more aimed at maintaining the equipment in working condition.
The main criterion by which it is customary to classify maintenance is the type of work performed. This includes diagnostics, adjustment and replacement.
Diagnostics - is aimed at identifying non-obvious malfunctions. The simplest type is visual inspection. In the course of the test, it is possible to detect fluid leaks, mechanical breakdowns, deformed parts, burnouts, and corrosion. With proper experience, it is possible to visually assess the condition of engine oil, brake pads, elastic bushings, anthers, batteries.
Detailed diagnostics is performed using a special tool. This includes checking tire pressure, compression in the engine cylinders, on-board network voltage, and leakage current. Using even more sophisticated equipment, it is possible to evaluate the correct geometry of the body and rims, evaluate the correct operation of electronic components, and find errors that are not displayed on the instrument panel.
Adjustment - is aimed at restoring the parameters of the car to the state provided by the manufacturer. This includes setting the ignition and injection, wheel alignment, various gaps and backlash. It requires tools and, in some cases, expensive equipment.
Replacement − It aims to replace worn or broken components. The main work is the replacement of engine oil, coolant and brake fluid, filters, installation of a new battery. Over time, piston rings, brake pads and timing belt need to be replaced.
What are the dangers of neglecting maintenance?
In the case of new vehicles, ignoring the required maintenance will void the warranty. At the same time, it is important to carry out all routine maintenance in full, and not selectively. Since new machines usually last their first years without breaking down, maintaining the warranty is the main motivation for their owners.
Owners of out-of-warranty cars usually have a different motive. Maintenance is performed to keep the equipment in working condition. At the dealer, at service stations, with their own hands. If these measures are ignored, the car:
- loses in value;
- becomes less safe;
- breaks down more often
- consumes more fuel;
- wears out faster;
- becomes more expensive to maintain.
These problems entail losses that are much more expensive than timely maintenance.
About maintenance intervals
The frequency of certain events is calculated by the manufacturer. Instructions are provided in the original instruction manual. A properly drafted regulation contains information about:
- types of work;
- specific work to be done;
- parameters to be strived for during maintenance;
- specifications and approvals.
The frequency of maintenance is determined by one of two criteria:
- Mileage in kilometers.
- Operating time.
You need to focus on the criterion that came first.
Example. According to the regulations, engine oil is supposed to be changed either every 10 thousand km, or once a year. If the car has not traveled the specified distance in a year, the oil still needs to be changed (seasonal maintenance). And vice versa. If 10 thousand km are covered in less than a year, it is impossible to wait for its end. Similarly, the frequency is calculated for all service activities provided by the manufacturer.
Choosing a place for car maintenance
All major maintenance requires knowledge, experience, tools and equipment. The exception is daily maintenance, which, in accordance with the rules of the road, the driver must carry out independently before each exit. To check fluid levels, tire pressure, bulbs in headlights and lanterns - no special tools are needed. Every car owner should have them.
For more complex work, there are three places:
- Official dealer.
- Third party services.
- Personal garage.
Consider the features of these options and the principles of choosing between them.
He has to serve the owners of new cars. This requires a manufacturer's warranty, and sometimes credit conditions. Service from an authorized dealer has both its pros and cons. They are described below. The main advantage is the high quality of the service.
Third party services
This is the most basic option if the car is no longer under warranty. Unlike dealers, third-party service stations may have problems with the quality and usefulness of maintenance. But it is usually cheaper, easier and faster. The main thing is to find a decent workshop with qualified personnel.
Personal garage (Car without service station)
Suitable if you wish:
- save as much as possible;
- control the quality at 100%;
- not depend on the workload of dealers and services;
- choose a convenient time for car service.
To perform car maintenance in the garage, you will have to acquire tools and equipment, as well as learn how to use them. You can’t do without a basic understanding of the device and the principle of operation of car components. Without a viewing hole or overpass, all the work will not be fully completed either.
About maintenance cost
If the car is under warranty and serviced by an authorized dealer, then it is free. The same is true for activities carried out on their own. Turning to third-party services always costs money. But it's usually cheaper than having the car serviced by the dealer out of warranty.
The cost is determined on the basis of the base tariffs of the organization and consists of the work that needs to be performed. The more complex the operation, the more expensive it is. The cost of spare parts and the time of work of specialists also affect.
How to save on maintenance
For the first 2-3 years of owning a new car, don't ignore dealer service. This is the most economical. At the end of this period, be prepared to overpay. For the qualifications of the masters. For the equipment on which they work. For original spare parts and consumables. For the emblem on the building, which is the same as on your car.
When the car warranty expires, it makes sense to look for a good third-party service station. How to find it is described below. In this case, you can already save in several ways. In this case, you will no longer overpay for what is mentioned above. No one will impose expensive original spare parts and consumables on you. You can also independently find the cheapest parts and liquids that the masters will work with at the service.
Theoretically, the greatest savings shine with self-service. However, there are pitfalls here. Buying tools, fixtures, equipment is a serious investment. Savings will be visible only after a few years of operation of the car.
About types of maintenance
There are three types of maintenance:
Daily maintenance is entrusted to the driver and is detailed in the rules of the road. It is carried out regardless of the make and model of the car.
Scheduled maintenance is carried out in accordance with the regulations developed by the manufacturer. Performed regardless of the current state of the vehicle. Even if it's perfect. The right moment for scheduled maintenance is determined by the mileage or operating time. The goal is to extend the overall life of the car, prevent possible breakdowns, and maintain equipment in proper condition.
- general diagnostics;
- replacement of working fluids;
- filter replacement;
- replacement of wear parts (candles, belts, rollers, pads);
- checking the tightening of fasteners;
- adjustment of gaps, tensions, angles.
What and how to do - point by point or in the form of a table is described in the car's operating manual. The list of work performed is also affected by the equipment. The more additional options, the more activities.
The frequency is also regulated by the regulations. For example, the first service must be carried out every 10 thousand km or once a year. The second after 20 thousand km, the third after 60, and so on. During the passage of the second and subsequent cycles, the work provided for by the previous ones is simultaneously performed.
Unscheduled maintenance is carried out involuntarily, and not according to the schedule.
- decreased dynamic performance;
- increased fuel consumption;
- extraneous noise, hum, vibration appeared;
- fluid leakage;
- there were signs of breakage;
- an accident happened.
Another unscheduled call to the service may be due to a radical change in the operating conditions of the car.
Unscheduled maintenance is not done according to the list. The need to perform a particular measure is determined upon contacting the service, as well as after the diagnosis. For example, if suddenly there is a hum of brakes, then you do not need to change the oil. Local repairs are carried out, only the problem that has arisen is eliminated. If other problems are identified during this work, they are eliminated along the way.
Exception. Routine work can be carried out unscheduled before the technical inspection, for the successful completion of which the car needs to be “put in order”.
Ignoring unscheduled maintenance can result in serious problems. Which, at least, will hit your pocket, or worse, lead to loss of health or life. If there is a goal to pass the inspection, then after the service it will be much easier to do.
Which is better - a dealer or a third-party service?
Dealer services are usually used when the car is under warranty or it is written in the terms of the loan. However, this does not mean that the dealer service has no advantages.
The main benefit of dealer service is that it is free and the warranty is up to date. In addition, they have equipment for a specific machine. The staff has specialists with the appropriate profile and experience in the right areas. Together, these factors improve quality.
But along with it, the cost of servicing a non-warranty car also increases. Your attempt to save money on non-original components and branded consumables will not be approved here either.
Owners of third-party service stations are interested in their customers being completely satisfied with the service. From this follow both the pros and cons of this option.
The main plus is the cost. Independent workshops show maximum loyalty to their customers, helping you save money. There are also disadvantages. The main one is that it is difficult to find a service staffed with professional equipment and qualified craftsmen.
About self-maintenance of the car
If you have an idea about the structure of the car and know how to work with your hands, it is quite possible to perform maintenance yourself.
What can be done in the garage?
You can do absolutely all the work provided for by the regulations. The list is only limited by your skills and the tools available. Most often, it is impossible to do only what professional equipment is required for. For example, a wheel alignment kit.
What to buy for a self-service machine?
To perform basic car maintenance in the garage, you will need at least the following:
- Observation pit or flyover.
- Nice set of keys.
- Torque wrench.
- Pressure gauge.
- A set of probes.
- Special tool (e.g. for dismantling circlips and bearings, load plug).
Such a kit will cost a lot, and will not pay off immediately. But if you are in the mood to service your car, you will very quickly feel all the benefits of this approach.
The difference between maintenance and inspection
Maintenance is aimed at keeping the vehicle in good condition.
A technical inspection is needed to check the condition of the equipment in order to assess compliance with traffic rules and safety.
How to evaluate the quality of maintenance?
The quality can be judged by the car in use. If there were no problems between routine maintenance without good reason, then everything was done at the level.
How to choose a reliable service?
You can learn about the quality of service in two ways - from personal experience, or from the experience of others. The first method is more reliable and reliable, but can be more expensive. The second one is simpler and cheaper, but no one will give you a 100% guarantee.
Saving on car maintenance
Savings take place everywhere and always. But chasing her too manic is not worth it. Compared to the problems that can arise from operating an unmaintained car, the cost of professional service is incomparably low. However, some savings are possible. But not just at the expense of quality.
Maintenance is the only way to keep the car in a technically sound condition for a long period of operation. It is carried out according to the regulations developed by the manufacturer individually for each model and configuration. You can service it at dealers, at third-party services or on your own. All methods are good, with their pros and cons. The choice depends on the conditions, financial possibilities, your knowledge, skills and principles.