Crammond Automotive Specialities

"Specializing in the repair and conservation of European Cars"

Club Articles

The Easiest Form of Maintenance -Thoughts From a "Carguy" - April 2012

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 2:25 AM

There are so many little things to be done on a car at frequent intervals that the motorist cannot be blamed for overlooking them or putting them off. The average driver is a busy person who runs his car as a handy means of conveyance and has little or no mechanical knowledge of a car’s requirements beyond periodic fills of gasoline, oil, grease water and air. With personal and business matters to occupy his mind he is apt to regard his car as a nuisance if the thought of small but necessary duties crop up to annoy his peace of mind” It appears it is time to address the “elephant in the room”, the concepts of maintenance and reliability. The above quote, though pertinent today is actually from repair manual printed in the early 1900’s.We all have the best intentions when it comes to maintenance, but often cosmetics are given preference over preventative mechanical maintenance. BMW has always been at the forefront, being one of the first manufactures to incorporate brake pad wear indicators and service interval reminders. The trend towards maintenance reminders continues with I-Drive, though most of my customers are surprised when first shown the service requirements option. Often it is the dire red hoist or yellow triangle that gets some to pay attention to their cars. Almost all On Board Computers supplied by BMW in the last 20 years take all guesswork out of basic maintenance – provided the pixels are working. The interesting thing about maintenance is how it is related to reliability, though often they are thought to have little bearing on each other. Last week I was talking to someone about a car, when they said that they did not know if they should buy it because they did not know if it would be reliable. It was when he said that he should buy his father’s car because he knew it was reliable, that I disagreed with him. His assumption that his fathers car was reliable because he had encountered few problems, was wrong. Reliability is one of those words that I feel can only be used when talking about your cars past. Simply put, a car is built as a wear item. Bearings, friction surfaces, belts- just about all components on your car are built with a predicted service life. Granted a Cobalt will wear faster than a Rolls-Royce, but that is build quality, not reliability. A vivid example of this is a 1979 Porsche 924 that I had that was completely reliable, until stored for the winter then brought out for the summer only to throw a connecting rod cap through the oil pan at idle. Does this mean that we should live in fear off the next big repair, That we should all park our cars for fear of “using them up”? Rather than fear the next repair, or park cars to “save them”, drive them! Low mileage cars though seen as more desirable, often have many issues once put back into service. The best way to save your car is to enjoy it! Drive your toy regularly, listen to it for any new noises, and pay those service minders the attention they deserve – It is amazing how well a “loved “ car drives regardless of mileage.

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