Car maintenance implies perpetual expenses. Chief among them is the 3000-mile oil change. Going by the manual of our primary car, five-year-old Honda CRV, the oil change is due only every 10,000 miles. There is a lot of debate on this topic as to what should be the best preventive maintenance plan. We diligently followed the book for the last 60,000 miles without problems. The last time around, we took the car for an oil change, at a place where they combined the oil-change with a full-service-hand-wash for a grand total of $39.99. Minutes after acquainting with the automobile the mechanic came to us with his marketing cap on. His suggestion was that we do three changes, as the oil that came out was extremely dark:
- Oil Change,
- Air Filter ($29.99), and
- Oil Flush ($99.99)
Tune-ups are another potential money drain. Although advertisements push the 15,000-mile “minor” tune-ups (close to $100) and the 30,000-mile “major” tune-ups (close to $400), interestingly enough the vehicle manuals do not mention the need for such services. Here again, we are more comfortable going by the manual recommendations (fluids, spark plugs, etc.) and these services add up to a lot less money overall.
Tire rotation and balancing every 7500 miles is considered a standard for most cars. This along with puncture fixes can add up significantly over the course of the life of the tires. Most places routinely charge around $10 per tire for rotation, $15 per tire for balancing, and $20 for puncture fixes. While the service itself is necessary as both the service people as well as the car manufacturers generally agree on Tire rotation and balancing intervals, the costs can be minimized or even eliminated – Life time rotations, balancing, and puncture fixes are included for free with the purchase of new tires in certain retail outlets such as Costco.
Last Updated: 03/2010.