Most cars don’t need much maintenance in their lifetime. But when you add up all the maintenance you will have to do on your car over its lifetime, it can be quite a burden! You may be tempted to just buy a new one, but then there’s the depreciation factor that has to be considered, and you might not want to sell your old car to pay for the cost of a new one. So what’s the solution? Cars maintenance at home.
I got my Honda Civic ready for winter weather and planned to put a cover over it, get the engine tuned up and put on some snow tires. About four months later I took it for a tune-up, including having the carburetor tuned up too. About five days after that I took it for a service and found that all the fluids had been changed, the engine was cleaned, everything was oiled, and everything was ready to go for the February weekend outing. So that was great! I figured that this would be a big maintenance free month of driving!
Well, a few days later I was in the garage and I saw that the engine had died on me. It was cold outside and the humidity level in the garage was about ten degrees below what it should be. The timing belt was showing signs of fatigue and the spark plugs were completely bald. I called my mechanic and asked him what I needed to do to bring the car back to life.
He said that I needed to replace all the struts on the front and back, and he looked at me and told me that I didn’t need to change the whole thing. But he suggested that I change the front struts to prevent rust from forming under them and to make the engine bay look a little cleaner. I tried that out and it looks nicer now. He also suggested that I get some new front seals, which are about a hundred dollars depending on where I buy them. Those things can usually be bought at your local mechanic or auto parts store.
Another thing that he suggested was to get a new windshield and to replace it with a high-quality product. In my experience, the windshield is one of the most important parts of a vehicle. No one wants to drive around with a cracked or broken windshield. It’s just not comfortable, and it’s a safety hazard as well. If you ever crash, the wind is going to fly up and you’re going to hit your head.
The other item that he suggested was an oil change. Now, I’m not an expert on Honda engines so I was a little unsure about this, but it seemed that he had been talking about checking the oil in the engine mount as well. After doing some research, I found that this is a very common maintenance task for Honda engines. My favorite mechanic at work does the engine mount check on every car he fixes. It’s always done when he has an early morning appointment.
The third item that he suggested was to purchase a new timing belt. Again, I wasn’t sure how he came up with this recommendation. He told me that all of these things should be done on a regular basis for safety reasons. In my experience, all three of those things were very true. One of the top manufacturers of Honda engines does not recommend doing any of these things on your vehicle if you have a Honda Civic.
Last, the final suggestion that he gave was to purchase an electronic maintenance program. This was a pretty big surprise for me. I had never heard of such a thing before. Not only is an electronic maintenance program more expensive than buying a timing chain, but it also costs twice as much to replace belts that are damaged.