Features » Motoring in Spain » The Car Clinic
PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE
Staff Reporter / 2010-07-10 12:08:49
I am a true believer in prevention is better than the cure, but I can hear all you pessimists out there shouting “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So is the glass half full or half empty?
It is a matter of safety that your brakes are adjusted correctly, road lights are operational and your vehicle is roadworthy. All major manufacturers have different service schedules for individual vehicles.
As a general rule 12,500km or 12 months for a major service. Because your car has passed an I.T.V does not account for a service. Any service history is beneficial when you come to sell the vehicle, a full service history can be worth a considerable amount more depending on the age and type of vehicle, but is always a prime weapon to have in your arsenal when looking for your next purchase. So is this the reason why you should get your car serviced regularly? I think it is a little more involved than that.
Let’s start with what is potentially the death of any engine. Over a million people in the UK suffer from Atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries leading to the build up of fatty deposits called plaques in the walls of the arteries.) which if untreated can lead to a heart attack. Your car’s engine with its small oil galleries and veins is no different. Old oil collects carbon deposits and leaves residue around the engine. Never change your oil and the inevitable will happen.
Unlike the human liver your car has an oil filter to catch unwanted contaminates and dirt circulating around its veins. Unfortunately the oil filter does not have the biological ability to repair itself so a replacement should be fitted with every oil change.
The same goes for other filters that are involved in the clean running of any engine. The air filter, particularly here in Spain where we have a dry dusty climate, will require replacement or cleaning more frequently than the same car in the UK. This also applies to probably the most neglected filter of all. The pollen filter is situated just before your cars interior air entry point. This is rarely checked let alone changed.
This filter is responsible for keeping the air you breathe inside the car clean. Although not detrimental to the function on your vehicle this little filter can be home to thousands of parasites which can be hazardous to your health, especially if you suffer from asthma.
The fuel filter keeps out all unwanted residues that are floating around in the fuel. With neglect this filter can eventually block up causing a breakdown or worse, engine parts like fuel injectors will wear considerably quicker resulting in an expensive repair bill. Average fuel filter €25, new injectors €150-€200 each, and most of us have four of them!
The cam-belt is the next item that needs to be serviced. Replacement intervals differ again between manufacturers. These should be changed on or before the recommended date or mileage. If you have just purchased a car with mileage higher than the recommended replacement interval, and have no proof of when it has been changed then I would recommended that you have it replaced straight away. Any cam-belt failure will lead to catastrophic engine damage.
The belt connects the rotating crankshaft and pistons to the camshaft at the top of the engine. The crankshaft turns twice to every one turn of the camshaft. For a belt to fail apart from age or oil contamination from a leak, it is normally the fault of poor idle tensioners or on some engines the water pump, these should be checked and replaced where necessary, if one of these seizes it will cause the belt to snap.
You can imagine what will happen next, the top of the engine stops whilst the pistons are still travelling up and down at 3000 times a minute. The collision between them and the valves can smash the internals of the engine completely. A rebuild from this situation can be in excess of €1500. A cam-belt from as little as €150 fitted.
Who’s the pessimist now!
The cost of regular servicing easily out ways the cost of the repairs, but please don’t be misled, there are no shortcuts to a properly maintained car. Cheap or budget services are not necessarily all they are made up to be. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys, plain and simple.
The parts fitted at the service are the major contributing factor to how much you will pay at the end of the day. Car parts in Spain are extortionately high hence you are not going to get a thorough job €100. Servicing costs is dependant on the vehicle and engine size.
So whether your glass is half full or half empty, as I said earlier prevention is better than the cure. It’s you and anybody else travelling with you that may be at risk, make sure your car is in prime condition before anything happens.
Until next time, did you know a snail can sleep for three years, all Polar bears are left-handed and banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour!!
Happy motoring. Tony