Running The Light: Here’s How Long You Can Wait After Your Maintenance Light Comes On

Car Maintenance, Tips, Used Cars

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car engine oil light

It always happens at the most inconvenient moments. The check engine, change oil, or maintenance required light flashes on, and with it, comes a variety of costs and inconveniences. Taking the time out of your busy schedule to comparison shop and bring in your vehicle is extensive and frustrating. Not to mention the range of costs you may find yourself facing at certain garages and dealers.

So just how pertinent is servicing once your respective light illuminates? The answer to this question is varied and complicated, hinging on a slew of variables concerning the condition and model of your car. The following is a smattering of information to help you decide how long you can wait to have your vehicle serviced.

There’s a wide array of very general information regarding when, why, and how frequently should you bring your car in for servicing. Some say that you only need to meet the absolute minimum, bringing it in only twice a year. While this might seem like a good way to protect your pocket book, you might wind up costing yourself a lot more than you expected in the long run.

Cars that go under serviced run the risk of damaging their timing belt, requiring replacement and extensive engine repair. Still, others will suggest bringing your vehicle in every 5,000 miles. However, this overly comprehensive scheduling regimen isn’t really tenable for the average person given both the time and financial commitment. What’s more, these rigorously scheduled maintenance roadmaps ignore the significance of several variables.

The road conditions, driving style, climate, and drive time endured by the vehicle all contribute to your vehicle maintenance needs. Opting for a more nuanced and specific maintenance plan will maximize both the function of your vehicle and safety of your checking account. Learning how to pay attention to your vehicle and understand your driving habits will help you to know when to have your vehicle serviced.

Besides paying attention to the check engine or maintenance light in your vehicle, there are several ways to diagnose your car as needing service. Certain strange noises coming from under the hood of your vehicle can cue you into some problems that might need resolution.

Whining, metal on metal, inconsistent engine whirring, crunching gears, and squealing brake pads are all signs that something might be wrong. After locating the source of the mysterious sound, examining the area for anything that may seem out of place, broken, or over strained will confirm the need for a service.

Additionally, the responsiveness, or lack thereof, of your vehicle can indicate a problem with the suspension, brake pads, tires, or steering. If you notice a pulling, resistant, or unresponsive sensation during the operation of your vehicle, a comprehensive servicing is likely required. With that, the perceived comfort of your drive can also serve as an indicator for the condition of your car. Any sort of scraping, increased vibration, or loose jostling might point to some structural damage or suspension problem.

So what is there to be made from all of this? Well, if you’re the daredevil type who loves to ride the tank past empty and the engine until the wheels fall off, then understanding the moment you absolutely need servicing is essential.

Everyone wants to be frugal, but part of being frugal is about understanding when you need to spend money to save money. The Canadian used car industry is booming, which means that many Canadians are hitting the road with extensive mileage and weary systems. So, to return to the initial question; how long can you wait after the maintenance light comes on?

The answer lies in the information your car is giving you. The aforementioned noises and sensations can tell you better than any routinely cued light when you do and don’t need service. Maintenance lights run on a clock linked to the mileage of your vehicle. While routine maintenance will safeguard your vehicle from system failure, it might be providing a little more protection than it’s really worth.

Whenever you decide to bring it in, the team of highly trained professionals at Ridetime, know exactly what your car needs and do so at a fair cost. What’s more, Ridetime’s new state of the art facility is one of the most all encompassing in the Canadian used car industry. Whether you’re a scheduled maintenance zealot, or a free spirited motorist, Ridetime is the premiere destination for repairs, customizations, and absolutely unparalleled service.


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