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Vehicles are not only the second most expensive investment after a home purchase, but they also continue to be costly after you buy them in terms of maintenance and repairs. Many people may try to skip certain maintenance or stretch the time between oil changes or tire rotations as far as possible. However, this increases your chances of your vehicle breaking down, more severe accidents, higher repair bills down the road, and lower residual value when it is time to sell or trade-in your vehicle.
There are many vehicle organizations today that provide some well-needed help for people who may be short of funds or need an extra incentive to motivate them to take care of their vehicle. Who would not want to take advantage of something that was either free or greatly reduced in price, especially if it also meant saving time, money, and hassle down the road?
Get Help from Auto Associations
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) conducts a vehicle check-up each autumn – usually October – for its members across the United States. They believe it helps their members stay in tune with their vehicles’ maintenance needs, use gas more efficiently, stay safer on the road, and maintain a strong return on their investment.
The inspections are at a drastically reduced rate of around $40 and include oil and filter change, a 38-point vehicle maintenance inspection, and battery test, according to AAA’s web site. More information is available by calling 800-713-0003 or visiting www.aaa.com so that you can locate an approved auto repair facility that is offering this special deal on behalf of the AAA.
October is a good month to provide these inspections because consumers need to prepare their vehicles for the harsh winter months ahead, which can do further damage if proper care has not already been taken with tires, antifreeze levels, wiper blades, and brakes.
Data Mining for Car Care Council
A number of other companies and organizations sponsor other vehicle inspection events across the country as a way to build public awareness about the importance of proper maintenance. Many of these events are aided by the Car Care Council that benefits by receiving data about vehicles and maintenance from the consumers that participate. These events usually take place in April and October each year, providing information about the effects on “highway safety, air quality, cost of operation, vehicle performance and vehicle dependability” (Car Care Council, www.carcare.org).
Valuable Benefits for Everyone
These are valuable offers because these types of inspections at dealerships or independent auto repair shops can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars. The auto associations realize that it is in their benefit as well as consumers to offer low-cost or free checkups so that more people are safer on the road.
These checkups can help identify potential issues before they become major problems. The inspections tend to focus on areas that consumers neglect the most, such as oil changes, tire pressure, engine air filters, battery, and windshield wiper fluid. In fact, the Car Care Council found that eight out of every ten vehicles did not pass at least one aspect of the inspection, indicating the need to help more consumers take better care of their investments.
In the long run, consumers can benefit from getting components of their vehicles fixed before they end up broken down on the side of the road with even bigger tangible costs of money out of pocket and the intangible expense of lost time, missed work, and overall stress.
Another Low-Cost Maintenance Partner
While these types of complimentary or low-cost vehicle inspections are available once or twice a year, there are other companies that are now providing a cost-efficient and convenient way to continually track vehicle maintenance through e-mail reminders, updates on recalls, and e-logs that enable a consumer to stay up-to-date without forking out a lot of money. Consumers can also track their gas consumption to find any signs that their vehicle’s performance may be suffering due to an undiscovered maintenance issue.
Vehicle owners can take advantage of these services that offer free trial memberships and reasonable subscription fees. Having a partner like this will help consumers manage more than seventy important service and maintenance items for their vehicle through a convenient web site location. They can also receive reminders via cell phone and PDA now that some of these service partner companies have added wireless functionality to their value-added offering.
Revving Up Resale Value
Besides being proud of the vehicle you drive every day and remaining confident that you and your passengers are safe behind the wheel, it is always good to view your vehicle as a major investment. While you may lose a lot of money when driving it off the showroom for the first time, you can do a lot to stop further value declines over the years you decide to have it before trading it in for another one.
Following a regular maintenance schedule by taking advantage of free and low-cost inspection locations as well as utilizing online vehicle service partners to help you track maintenance, recalls, and repairs will go a long way in adding miles, months, and money onto the life of your vehicle.