Procrastinating may seem relatively harmless, but it almost always ends up backfiring – like your car if you never check your tire pressure or change the spark plugs.
Whether you’re driving a brand-new car or something you’ve owned since high school, keeping up with routine car maintenance is important to preserve the lifespan of your vehicle and protect your wallet from hefty, unexpected expenses.
A new study surveying over 1,000 car owners reveals just how many people procrastinate on car maintenance, such as ignoring warning indicators, and how much it costs them.
Checking tire pressure and other most Procrastinated Repairs
Routine services like oil changes and tire pressure checks are meant to keep your car in tip-top shape, but many drivers exceed the recommended time to complete these services.
Do you change your oil every three months? Over 1 in 4 drivers exceeded this time frame, putting it off by about a month. But there’s a danger in that: Poor engine lubrication can cause engine corrosion and reduce your car’s mileage, preventing you from getting what you paid for and potentially costing an excessive amount of money in engine repairs.
Checking the tire pressure only needs to be done once a month, and it’s as simple as going to the gas station, which you’re doing anyway. Still, nearly 1 in 10 drivers had never checked their tire pressure, and over 46% of drivers exceed this time frame by about two months.
Car owners even ignored washing their cars. Nearly 1 in 10 admitted to never washing the exterior or vacuuming the interior of their vehicle.
What’s the most procrastinated service? Replacing the spark plugs. Your spark plugs should be replaced every 20,000 miles, but 65% of drivers had never done so. While this isn’t necessarily a concern for new owners, the longer you own your vehicle, the more likely you are to delay a repair.
Whatever the situation, getting into the habit of keeping up with car maintenance can sustain your vehicle and your wallet.
Can You Name That Indicator Light?
Some of these delays might be due to a lack of knowledge.
Warning indicator lights are your car’s way of communicating that something is wrong, but many drivers can’t identify them correctly, which may prevent them from fixing the problem.
As previously stated, over 46% put off checking their tire pressure. The same percentage was unable to identify the tire pressure warning light. Coincidence?
If the check engine light turns on, it might be warning you about a serious malfunction. Yet, almost 1 in 3 car owners didn’t know what it meant. In fact, 16.5% admitted to driving with their check engine light on.
Drivers found the brake warning light and the automatic shift lock the most difficult to identify (84% each).
Knowing the meaning of each indicator light can make it a lot easier to diagnose a problem. You’ll likely find a guide to warning lights in your owner’s manual or online.
How Much It’s Costing You
These issues can cost you thousands of dollars, and for most drivers, that’s a reality.
Getting your car repaired as soon as possible can save hundreds. Those who serviced their car within a week saved an average of $223. However, people who waited over two months spent over $1,600 on repairs.
How much you’re spending on repairs can also depend on the price of your car. Vehicles priced between $21,000 and $31,000 averaged the lowest repair costs ($981) and the number of repairs performed (1.5).
Cars that cost less upfront can cost as much as $700 more to maintain, so it may be worth investing more into your purchase.
It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll do it another day, whether it’s because of the time or money. But procrastinating on car maintenance may end up costing you more in the long run than it would have if you had taken care of it in a timely manner.
So take the time to check your tires when you get gas or look up warning indicator lights when they come on.