Q. I am off to
college with a shiny new car thanks to Mom. I want to take good care
of it and anticipate what to budget for. Can you please tell me what
I can expect? Maybe some ideas of how to take care of it? My dad isnít
with us, so I could use some fatherly advice!
Congratulations on your new ride! Modern vehicles donít require
nearly as much maintenance as those of the old days. Itís fairly
likely that your new car may have a maintenance reminder display
indicating when service is recommended. If not, take a look at the
maintenance schedule. Most cars require service perhaps each 7,500
to 10,000 miles. This typically consists of an oil change, tire
rotation and a few checks, costing perhaps $75. When you reach
30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles, this is often a larger service
costing perhaps $150 to $300. Depending on the engine type, you may
be looking at a timing belt change at approximately 90,000 miles,
perhaps in the neighborhood of $500 to $1,000.
Brake and tire
replacement will come up along the way, along with the need for new
struts/shocks. Standard performance brakes and tires will last
between 30,000 and 50,000 miles, depending on how gently they are
used. If brakes are done as a maintenance service before damage
occurs, the cost generally runs around several hundred dollars per
axle. Front brakes wear out about twice as often as rears.
spending perhaps $500 for a set of tires, and be sure to keep them
properly inflated! Wheel alignment should only be needed if you
clobber a curb or note unusual/rapid tire wear. Struts/shocks
typically last 50,000 to 100,000 miles and run about $200 to $400
per axle, depending on configuration. Iím a believer in renewing
brake fluid every five years, even though itís not typically
listed in the maintenance schedule ($150).
recommended maintenance schedule and using manufacturer specified
fluids is a strong recommendation! No generic power steering or
transmission fluid or coolant! When it comes to motor oil, a premium
big-name brand is fine, either conventional or synthetic (unless
can be done at the dealer or an independent shop, or by a savvy
friend. Be sure to keep all receipts showing what was performed and
when in order to protect your warranty rights and stay on track.
Keeping the exterior clean and waxing the paint surfaces perhaps
twice a year is a great way to keep the paint up. Keep in mind that
the sun is the enemy of your paint and upholstery! If itís
possible to park in shady places, do that. Applying a product such
as Scotchgard to upholstery fabric before soiling occurs can help
Also, try to
take it easy on mechanisms, for example not allowing doors to slam
closed or allowing them to fling open all the way, and making sure
that the parking brake is applied every time you park, and before
placing the transmission in park.
Enjoy your car
and the opportunities your education will bring!