The Cost Of Regular Car Maintenance In Canada
Written by DriveAxis.ca October 19, 2022
As with any complex machine, a car will require regular maintenance in order to remain functional, reliable and safe. Failure to keep a car maintained can also lead to costly mechanical issues down the road, and should therefore be avoided whenever possible. Keeping your car in good shape means taking care of your investment.
While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact cost of car maintenance in Canada across all makes and models, there are some averages that car owners can adhere to. By keeping a schedule as to when to take your car in for maintenance, you can keep it on the road longer, while maintaining a large chunk of its resale value at the same time.
When people hear “car maintenance,” they inevitably think of the basics, such as a regular oil change. In truth, there are several types of car maintenance that all drivers should be aware of. For instance, annual maintenance could include things like air filter replacements and a wheel alignment, while “irregular maintenance” may involve a flush of the transmission fluid, which is done every few years, or when a car reaches a certain number of accumulated kilometers.
Regular maintenance includes the aforementioned oil change, along with tire rotations, and the checking of tire tread depth. Make sure to remember all three kinds of maintenance, and schedule them out accordingly. When in doubt, consult your vehicle’s manufacturer for the suggested maintenance schedule, or consult your trusted mechanic.
DIFFERENT SCHEDULES FOR DIFFERENT CARS
Not all cars are alike, and different brands, engines and models will require different maintenance schedules in order to stay in top shape. For instance, Infiniti vehicles are known for going a few-hundred thousand kilometers without requiring some of the engine maintenance that other brands may need. However, they also require more frequent oil changes in order to function properly.
Never assume that two cars are alike, or that you can follow the schedule of your previous vehicle. Failure to maintain your car could lead to a loss of warranty, or at the very least, costly mechanical problems that could have been avoided with some care and attention.
REGULAR MAINTENANCE COSTS
Keeping your car on a regular maintenance schedule means you’ll be doing a large bulk of the work with very little trouble. Oil changes at the correct intervals are considered extremely important, but your car may require a certain type of oil for the engine underneath the hood. For instance, synthetic oil tends to be more costly than conventional oil - sometimes double the price - but if your manufacturer requires synthetic oil, it’s best to go with it.
Tire rotation is another important part of regular maintenance. Most cars are either FWD or RWD drivetrain, which means the front and back tires should be swapped in order to wear them out evenly over time. There are exceptions to this rule, notably on cars with different tire sizes on front and back. It’s an added cost, but far less than buying a new set of tires due to premature tread wear. Similarly, tire balancing is important to make sure the car is running straight, and without any vibrations whilst on the highway.
ANNUAL MAINTENANCE COSTS
Changing the engine air filter once a year is always a safe bet when keeping your car in good shape. Over time, it will become clogged with dirt, which can affect everything from horsepower, to fuel efficiency. Typically, an air filter requires changing somewhere around the 20,000 kilometer mark, which is the average most people drive around per year. The cabin air filter should be changed as well; do not assume the two filters are one and the same.
A wheel alignment also falls under the purview of annual maintenance costs, and is highly recommended to stave off uneven tire wear. Without a wheel alignment, the car may pull to the left or right, which can potentially become unsafe. It’s a small price to pay to keep them aligned, especially if you do a lot of heavy highway driving.
IRREGULAR MAINTENANCE COSTS
Many cars come with an automatic transmission as the standard, and with it comes the need for a transmission fluid flush. This hydraulic fluid allows the gears to shift, and lubricates other moving parts to ensure optimal operation. Over time, this fluid will start losing its effectiveness, signaling a need for a change. Luckily, this needn’t be done often. In fact, you may not need to change your fluid until at least 90,000km have been put onto the vehicle. When in doubt, have your service dealership or mechanic take a look, just to be safe.
Other fluids that may need replacing include the coolant and brake fluid exchange. The former should be replaced around the 60,000 to 90,000km mark, while the latter can be changed at the 90,000km mark. And finally, it pays to replace the timing belt when needed. These items tend to endure for the long haul, and may only need to be changed once or twice throughout the entirety of the car’s lifespan. On average, timing belts should be changed around the 160,000 to 190,000km mark.
Keeping your car well-maintained is key to ensuring that it runs well each and every day, which in turn will keep you and your family safe. Plus, it will prevent any unnecessary, and costly repairs that could turn into a headache in short order. Damages may not be limited to one specific part or system of the car, either, which is why it’s a safe bet to make sure that maintenance is a must.
At DriveAxis.ca, we make sure all of our pre-owned vehicles pass a rigorous 300 point inspection before they are allowed off the lot. That’s because we take car maintenance very seriously, especially when it comes to our drivers. If you’re in need of a brand new car, contact us today, and we’ll not only help you choose the right one, but we’ll also provide in-house financing options for you, even if your credit could use some work.