By Samuel Smith
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
You’ve just bought a second-hand car at a bargain price – washed, polished and well-presented, the future looks bright.
Oil sludge, bald tyres and dodgy brakes are probably the last things on your mind.
But, as the weeks turn into months, you start noticing little things; the occasional squeak, a puff of smoke, maybe even a wandering temperature gauge.
Skip a service, and that innocent squeak becomes a screech; the puff of smoke becomes a constant plume. There’s no doubt neglect can have terrible consequences.
Here’s what could happen if you decide to ditch your servicing schedule.
1. Safety could be compromised
Vehicle neglect still plays a part in many car crashes – think worn brakes, faulty steering components and bald tyres.
The good news is most dangerous malfunctions can be prevented by regular servicing. As well as changing oil and fluids, your mechanic will run tests and address any looming issues – mechanical or electrical – before they become safety hazards.
Remember, just because you can’t see (or feel) anything wrong with your car, doesn’t mean there isn’t. Paying a few hundred dollars for an inspection could save your life.
2. Costs will creep up
Skipping services may save you a few dollars, but in the long run, you’ll gain nothing.
Budget for your services and stick to your car’s maintenance plan. Little problems, which could initially cost hundreds to fix, may set you back thousands if left unattended.
It’s also important to think ahead. When it comes time to sell your car, buyers will look for an up-to-date logbook. If you skip services, not only will you have to fork out serious cash when something goes wrong, your neglect will be clear for all to see.
3. Emissions could increase; fuel efficiency could decrease
Skipping services could decrease your car’s fuel efficiency and increase pollution, harming the environment and your bank account. A mechanic can check your air and fuel filter, tyre pressure and spark plugs – all of which impact your car’s fuel efficiency and emissions.
4. You could kill your engine
Changing your car’s oil is one of the simplest, least expensive parts of a service, yet failing to do so can have dire consequences.
No matter how tempted you may be to skip oil changes, don’t. Over time, heat generated by your engine causes oil to break down. As it ages, it becomes a less effective lubricant, increasing friction between moving parts and resulting in premature wear.
If oil is left unchanged for a long period of time, sludge can form. Thick and unmovable, it starves vital parts of your engine like bearings and camshafts. Over time, restricted oil flow can cause major damage. The worst case scenario is that your entire engine may seize and need to be rebuilt.
The RAA suggests that oil be changed at 5000-10,000km intervals. Keep in mind, manufacturers’ service schedules are only the minimum requirements; if your vehicle has a 15,000km service interval, consider doing an interim service at 7500km. Your car will certainly thank you for it.