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Drivers Putting Off Maintenance To Save Cash Study Shows [AUDIO]

Flickr User Bob n Renee

Many of us been guilty of putting off that needed oil change or tire rotation, but a new study from Consumer Reports finds up to 40 percent of people are putting off auto maintenance to save some cash.The survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, finds that repair to such as brakes, tires, light bulbs, or other mechanical parts are all being put off in order to avoid facing the bills. However while saving thirty to forty dollars on an oil change might seem like a good thing, according to Executive Director of the NJ Gasoline-C Store – Automotive Association Sal Risalvato, you could be setting yourself up for trouble.

“Most maintenance items that are put off do come back and cost more money later on.”

The study also finds that many of the people who put of the repairs are aware of the danger they are setting themselves up for. The results show that 44 percent of those that put off getting repairs done, admit that they felt the value, safety, or reliability of the vehicle would suffer. Eight percent even admitted to their car or truck being an embarrassment.

Risalvato says that at the very least people who put off the maintenance are setting themselves up for financial danger. “People that put off things like routine oil changes, they will find that that becomes a problem when they have engine problems, internal type engine problems.”

Those problems can lead to very expensive repairs totaling in the multiple thousands in many cases which the driver will have to pay in addition to any other needed maintenance. In the survey interviewees states that a repair cost of about 2,000 dollars would be a serious financial burden. As the findings show often it’s those who can afford to have a major repair the least that are those to take the biggest risks by not performing routine maintenance. Those in lower income households were found to be more likely to delay the work. Not surprisingly, “youngest drivers, aged 18 to 34 years, were more likely to delay work on wear items, such as brake pads or tires.”

One of the things the report also highlights is that more people than ever are driving older cars. Consumer Report’s study shows the average car used was from 2003 and has been driven for at least five years with the intent of being used for another five.

Risalvado says that while more people are eschewing the purchase of newer vehicles to save money, they need to remember that with more mileage comes more maintenance. “Particularly from 75 thousand miles on up, cooling systems need to be maintained, belts and hoses need to be checked and maintained, a very common thing that people ignore is something called the timing belt.”

He acknowledges people want to save money but urges that it’s often not worth it to put off repairs. One of the best things Risalvato says you can do is make sure you have a reputable mechanic.

“A good automotive technician and professional will keep records for you. So he will notify you when your car is in for an oil change. He will notify you that the car is due for certain mechanical maintenance.”

Beyond anything what is the one thing Risalvato urges you don’t put off?

“Be adamant about getting their oil changed and with each oil change they should have inspected their brakes, their tires, their steering suspension, and all belts hoses and fluids.”

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