Are we overmaintaining our cars?

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Apr 8, 2007
I stumbled on this video and it brought back some memories about my 94 v6 camry and when I knew little about car maint. Bought it in 2002 with 100k miles and at that time. Later only to find out that it was not maintained properly and in reality did not have a clear title and removed airbags... not knowing much about car maintenance or cars in general, other than knowing how to do an oil change, I went to the local autozone and bought all kinds of car care stuff... while I was there the counter guy got me to buy this engine flush for older cars. Today I would just roll my eyes and walk out, but I did buy and use it at the time. One thing that I remember clearly is when I poured it in it smelled like kerosene and when I drained it I saw big chunks of black glue like stuff plop out of the drain, I even saw some rather large metallic shavings as big as 0.5mm - 1mm in size..., the filter (the orange can) that was on the car was almost impossible to take off, and when I finally took it off it was mostly plugged. I ran to the store and got a few more of those magic kerosene cans and used them to mix with my oil for 2 x 500mile ocis. Mixed 1 can with 4 quarts of motor oil... After this "about 2 weeks" the car started leaking from everywhere both from valve covers and oil pan. The mechanic that replaced the gaskets said that he has never seen a V6 toyota this clean on the inside confused I also had him flush all the other fluids and replace an engine mount. To make a long story longer, I used this car to get around and deliver pizza throughout my college years. By the time I was done with it it had trouble free 180k miles. I later passed it down to my younger sister until we sold it at 220k miles. Other than that there was nothing ever fixed on this vehicle, everything worked. Since we got it, it got chevron 10w-40 from costco along with the orange cans, two sets of tires and brakes, and the cheapest gas around (87) even though it required 91. Never burned oil and always passed smog. Only when I bought a brand new car, an 07 accord I stumbled on this site. As they say it, the rest is history. From now on every time I think which brand/weight of oil will make my little KIA last longer, I remember this.
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I think if our vehicles could speak. They would chant over and over again, BITOG...BITOG...BITOG...
On a serious note, unless you are changing every fluid in your vehicle every 1k or washing and waxing the paint off. There is no such thing as over-maintaining a vehicle.
Most likely. I've been changing the synthetic 0w20 in my car every 5k, when it is only required every 10k. Probably overkill. I advised my friend to let me do an oil service on her car at 6500 miles, but the computer said it will not be due until 11k. Then I was talking to a friend last night who was barely making ends meet and was asking me if she should do a complete fluid swap at 30k as her dealer advised; at that point it struck me that our money is probably better spent elsewhere. :P
Some stuff is over-maintained....but not all..... I've seen crazy anal people......i.e.: monitoring/topping off their batteries monthly....? Really....? people do this? :P Kinda funny cause I got a friend that works at a walamrt TLE.....he says the customers that seem "anal redundant" when it comes to "maintenance" they are some of their biggest customer/complainers, always complaining about oil, batteries, filters, etc....:P To that I say, go to the beach/lake, and take a big deep breathe........relax......! smile
Your not over maintaining it, your preventively maintaining it. At least thats what I tell myself. smile
To me, maintaining my cars (and lawn equipment, etc) is a hobby. Not only does the unit last longer with good PM, but I get a significant amount of personal satisfaction and enjoyment out of it. By all accounts, I should easily be able to run the Mobil 1 in my Honda for 10,000 miles instead of 5,000 miles, but I enjoy changing it at that interval and enjoy using that fluid. So to me, this question is like asking a watch enthusiast if they clean their watches too often, or a computer enthusiast if they have enough disk/system monitoring utilities installed. None of "the extras" are usually vital to long equipment life, but it's what they/we enjoy doing.
Originally Posted By: Trav
No such thing if you live in the salt belt.
It's funny you say that, because here's my perspective: if I lived in the salt belt, I'm probably maintain my car less than I do! I figure that frame and body rot would almost be inevitable, so why have the rest of the car last forever? Cars out here just don't rust, so a car can last pretty much as long as you want it to last. To me, that gives me incentive to "over-maintain", since the duty cycle is higher. Then again, that guy with the million mile Volvo lives in the salt belt, so maybe I'm off base? Can you really maintain against body rot if you live in the salt belt?
I guess I "over maintain " my vehicles because I'm afraid of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. What makes me mad is seeing people who never do anything to thier cars yet never have an issue. Wish my luck were as good....
Yes if you keep under 150k miles for sure. Case in point my wife simply changed the oil on a 96 Civic and at 100k miles her dad changed the timing belt and plugs. She did air filter herself occasionally. Muffler fell off and did brakes in between. She sold it for a good amount of money at 190k in need of timing belt, struts and alignment to a foreign grad student.
Originally Posted By: rjundi
Yes if you keep under 150k miles for sure. Case in point my wife simply changed the oil on a 96 Civic and at 100k miles her dad changed the timing belt and plugs. She did air filter herself occasionally. Muffler fell off and did brakes in between. She sold it for a good amount of money at 190k in need of timing belt, struts and alignment to a foreign grad student.
That's getting your money's worth and knowing when to dump a car. I think if you follow the manufacturer's maintenance interval, you are slightly under maintaining your car but doing more than a majority of owners. It's probably a good stategy if you want to keep the car up to about 150K and then sell it. But if you want to keep the car indefinitely and want it to be in top condition, I think more frequent maintenance than the manufacture's recommendation is a good idea.
IMO: No vehicle is over maintained. This does not apply to some nut changing his oil every day for a street car.
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I am super anal about my cars for one major reason (outside of it being a hobby): When I buy a car, I buy it with the intention of being the last owner. Therefore, while my preventative maintenance and even detailing regime may seem extreme to some, it is to ensure the car lasts as long as possible and in top condition for as long as possible. I have won "Best Euro" and "Best Exterior" at a number of local shows, which is saying something for a 13yr old car with original paint (doesn't hurt that I worked as a professional detailer for high end cars for a while, and continue to do so as a side job independently for a number of favorite customers). I would rather pay now, when I know I have the time and money, than be surprised later. Then of course there is the other big reason: I trust my cars with my life every time I get in one, whether it is cruising on the freeway at 75mph or taking a 70degree turn on the track at similar speed. I value my life, so I ensure that the 3000lb metal missile I am sitting in is not only up to the task but exceeds it in every possible way. Plus, if I do ever sell a car, I believe that having a 2.5" binder overfilled with receipts will help it stand out from others on the market (or in the case of my 328, five 2inch binders lol, but that is a bit different of a story).
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