Maintenance vs. Repair

Car Overheating

When asked, owners share that they bought a new car so they wouldn’t have to deal with “fixing it” for a couple years. Unfortunately, those buyers have no clue what it takes to keep a car healthy for a dozen years with little cost. The first point of understanding must bring clarity to the differences between maintenance and repairs.

REPAIRS

An automotive repair is required when a part or system of parts stop functioning in the way it was designed to operate or perform. In the common vernacular we might say the item is “broken,” which may or may not be actually true. The real question is whether or not the part interrupts or slows drivability or performance.

According to the state of Illinois’ 2015 report, the average car requires $2,599 of repairs or fixes annually. The vast majority of these repairs were due to the car not being regularly maintained. For instance, if you don’t regularly check and change your oil, the car will wear out the rings and bearings, which can eventually give way to a very costly repair, a complete engine overhaul or replacement.

MAINTENANCE

Maintenance is always scheduled based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. By following the schedule religiously, the driver will extend the life of his or her car. These costs are all planned to prevent anything from breaking. The average cost of maintenance according to AAA’s 2015 report is $792 annually.

By spending a little bit of money every time the manufacturer of the car recommends an oil change, the odds of the engine fussing or breaking drops significantly. In other words, the more of the $792 of annual spend that is actually spent in preventative maintenance, greatly reduces the $2,599 annual spend on repairs or fixes.

EXTENDED LIFE

At Hi-Tech we’ve noticed that our customers who are adamant about maintenance spend on average $724 for preventative services. Their annual repair bill drops to an average unexpected spend of $560. The customers who spend about $360 on preventative maintenance spend about $1,350 in annual repairs. And, those who do not have us maintain their vehicles regularly tend to see annual repair bills exceeding $2,200.

By spending a little bit every month according to the manufacturer’s maintenance plan saves the average person about $2,000 a year. It also extends the life of their car from eight years to twelve, which is just the right amount of time for children to grow up and use the well-maintained aging car for their high school and college years.

Shop owner John Hickey is also religious about following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance for his own vehicle. His ’97 Tahoe has 245,000 miles on it and is good for another 4-5 years before he has to consider any pricey repairs. The shop truck has 189,000 miles, which he estimates will be around for 5-7 more years—all because of preventative maintenance.

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About CJ Powers

CJ is an author and speaker.
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