As a mechanic, I seem to encounter people a lot that should have come to see me earlier.
As I’m not a main dealer, I mainly deal with people with cars aged 3 years or more – in other words once they’re out of warranty.
Generally speaking, people are coming to me when their vehicle already has a problem, and some of them are quite serious. I’ve encountered cars that are just over three years old with blow head gaskets, which can be one of the most difficult and costly things to remedy.
In fact, the most reliable way to get past a head gasket that’s gone south is to replace the entire engine. Of course, that’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut kind of solution, but it’s not uncommon to find problem after problem with a vehicle if you try to fix them as they crop up.
In most cases, simply booking your annual service is enough to avoid these disasters – the one I was referring to hadn’t been serviced at all. It’s crazy when you think about it – spending almost £20,000 on a new car then trying to save yourself money by refusing to pay £150 to £200 for an annual service.
The most important single element of the servicing checks are replacing the oil as and when required. Without that being done it gradually gets thicker and thicker over time, and might even be gradually leaking away if the car isn’t being looked after properly.
If you take a parallel situation that we’ve just posted about, if you notice you’ve got a flat tyre, you don’t keep driving around on it until the tyre disintegrates and eventually the wheel itself becomes a mangled mess. You’d either head straight for your local Kwik Fit if possible or if not get the recovery truck out to help. The difference is you can see the tyre, whereas the oil problem is invisible until it’s too late. While you might invest in a tyre inflator to solve the problem yourself, you’re unlikely to do the oil change unless you know what you’re doing.
So, there’s the reason why servicing on time is critical to your vehicle’s health. Whether you’re a customer of mine or take it elsewhere isn’t important – just make sure you get your car booked in early so the work gets done on time!