Car maintenance is often a scheduled chore when you’re regularly driving. However, if you’re driving less due to the current environment, maintenance can easily become a lesser priority or even completely forgotten. Hankook Tire’s latest Gauge Index found that as daily driving decreased as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly one-third (30%) of Americans have done less car cleaning and maintenance too.
But car maintenance is always important, especially as drivers around the country gradually resume their travels and hit the road. Hankook Tire found that 60% of Americans expect to take more car trips moving forward. With that in mind, the following are five reasons it’s important to keep up with regular car maintenance:
First and foremost: Regular car maintenance helps increase safety when driving. This is especially important if your car has been parked for a while. Be sure to check your fluids (oil, washer, coolant, etc.) and inspect the tires to make sure that they haven’t lost their pressure. After all, the Gauge revealed 70% of Americans have not regularly been checking tire pressure during the pandemic. Low tire pressure can lead to several issues such as poor performance, premature wear and higher rolling resistance, which can impact fuel efficiency.
2. Save time and money
Consistent car maintenance also helps extend the overall life of not only your tires, but the systems that drive them, including the engine, suspension, brakes and transmission. With the median price of a set of four tires ranging from $300 to $600, investing in regular tire upkeep such as rotations and alignment when necessary, helps deter more costly repairs down the road — making both your car, and your money, go further. And, you’ll save time. Regularly scheduled basic maintenance appointments traditionally don’t take too long — and some dealerships even offer special pick-up and drop-off appointments so you never have to leave the comfort of your home.
3. First place performance
Just like a regular gym routine helps keep your muscle groups firing on all cylinders, regular trips to the mechanic can provide the same benefit to your car. Whether it’s a crushing leg day (suspension) or a cardio workout (engine), routine inspection of your shoes (tires) will help you maximize your workout traction so you’re ready for the next round and running at peak performance.
While cleaning the vehicle’s interior and exterior was the primary maintenance measure (40%) Americans took at the height of quarantine, the idea of clean cars goes beyond just dust on the dashboard and sanitized seatbelts. It keeps the environment clean, too. Little maintenance checks add up to a big environmental impact. For example, regular oil changes contribute to a cleaner engine and lower vehicle emissions, while properly inflated tires can contribute to better fuel efficiency.
5. Vehicle value
When the time comes to upgrade your vehicle, one of the first points of inspection is on the inside. A vehicle’s internal condition is one of the key factors in determining its worth, so it’s best to keep everything well-oiled and running smoothly, even if you don’t have any immediate plans to trade it in.
While it is recommended to adhere to your vehicle’s outlined maintenance schedule, there are a few things that drivers can do on a regular basis to provide added value. Every month, double-check to make sure headlights and taillights are working, fluids are topped off, and your belt and hose systems are running smoothly. Use the penny test to check your tire’s tread. In addition, keeping a vehicle maintenance log helps you stay organized and ensure good habits that can have a real impact when it comes time to trade in.
If any issues do arise, Hankook recommends getting your vehicle checked out by a certified mechanic before getting back behind the wheel.