It makes cents: A new analysis of AAA roadside assistance data reveals that millions of roadside breakdowns – and many dollars spent – could be prevented with basic vehicle maintenance. Despite this, AAA found that 35 percent of motorists have skipped or delayed service or repairs that were recommended by an auto technician or specified by a factory maintenance schedule.
“Consumers who forget or ignore recommended maintenance ultimately pay higher costs,” said John Walter, director of automotive repair and fleet operations for AAA Arizona. “AAA estimates drivers can save an average of $100 each time they visit a repair shop simply by properly maintaining their vehicle.”
AAA Arizona notes the top 10 maintenance items most skipped:
- Brake fluid (88 percent)
- Proper transmission fluid maintenance (81 percent)
- Engine coolant (77 percent)
- Corroded battery terminals (75 percent)
- Accessory belts (74 percent)
- Battery condition (73 percent)
- Timing belt (69 percent)
- Tire wear (63 percent)
- Tires rotated (63 percent)
- Engine air filter (58 percent)
“AAA will always be there to save the day, but drivers can save time and money by investing in routine maintenance,” Walter said.
To ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, AAA recommends that motorists:
- Read the maintenance requirements set by your car’s manufacturer in the owner’s manual. Keep in mind there is no longer a “standard” maintenance schedule for vehicle services – including brake fluid.
- Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises or longer stopping distance. Check your owner’s manual to see if the brake fluid should be changed at a specific interval. If no interval is specified, AAA suggests flushing the system every two years or any time the brake system is serviced.
- Follow the recommendations of in-vehicle maintenance reminders, as they have the best information to determine maintenance needs for your vehicle because they account for how you actually drive. However, many reminder systems do not specifically cover maintenance operations that need to be performed on a time or mileage basis – such as brake fluid, coolant flushes or timing-belt replacement.
- Enlist the help of a trusted repair provider to keep vehicle maintenance on track. Quality repair shops will help motorists schedule and budget for necessary maintenance services.
For more information, visit aaa.com/auto.