The costly lesson of poor auto care

How often should I change my oil? This is the question I am asked daily. Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. Driving styles and habits determine how often the oil needs to be changed.

I’ve had the privilege of working in the automotive repair industry for 38 years. During that time, I’ve continued to educate myself so that I can provide the necessary service required to maintain and repair high-tech vehicles that are being manufactured today.

I would like to share some of what I have learned over the years with anyone willing to listen.

Vehicles today have become very dependable, and it can create a “if it ain’t broke  don’t fix it” mentality.

This is okay if you only want your vehicle to be dependable for 2-3 years; however, if you plan on keeping your vehicle long term I strongly urge you to perform maintenance more often than the manufacturer suggest.

I recommend oil changes and vehicle inspections at least 3 times a year.

When was the last time you checked your engine’s oil level?

There was a time when we would check the engine oil level each time we filled up with gas.

How low does the oil level need to be in order to turn on the low level lamp? How much wear was created during the time the engine was run 20 percent to 30 percent low on oil?

It seems that advertising and marketing have overtaken what has been proven effective when it comes to maintaining any vehicle. Many late model vehicles have been coming into our shop with low oil levels.

This is creating costly engine damage, as well as electronic engine management problems.

This is becoming a problem due to a lack of regular vehicle inspections.

The problem with manufacturer’s extended maintenance intervals is that we don’t inspect anything on our vehicles until some reminder lamp appears.

This can create mechanical wear and safety issues for our vehicles and its passengers.

Regular maintenance allows for inspection of other vehicle components such as air filters, tires, belts, hoses, wiper blades, and vehicle lighting systems before they become a safety issue.

As a mechanic attempting to maintain and repair vehicles I can assure you it’s much easier and costs much less to repair a vehicle that has been properly maintained.

Also, if your mechanic is more familiar with your vehicle the repairs or maintenance will take far less time to accomplish.

Being involved in the service industry for most of my life, the one thing that stands out more than anything is that we all want someone who makes us feel like they have our best interest at heart.

Do we feel the same way when we deal with a large corporation?

Then why do we believe everything they tell us about maintaining our vehicles? Well, maybe they just want us to buy a new vehicle every four to five years.

For a more detailed explanation on an oil change schedule that fits your driving habits, please visit, or give us a call at (985) 785-9510 to schedule service.


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