Life's full of surprises in Apple Valley Minnesota, some of which cost money. A leaky roof, a broken tooth, or an unexpected car repair. Valley Auto Care of Apple Valley Minnesota and AutoNetTV have done some research on how we can budget for proper vehicle care.
Everyone in Apple Valley Minnesota does our best to budget for scheduled vehicle maintenance. What's hard is unexpected repairs. The truth is that our vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before with proper maintenance. That's because of improved vehicle design and manufacturing quality. But some of those same improvements also lead to higher repairs costs.
Let's take the fuel pump. Previous generations were often stranded by the side of the road by vapor lock. This occurred when the gas vaporized between the gas tank and the fuel pump. Fuel just stopped flowing.
You had to sit and wait until the car would start again. To alleviate the problem, fuel pumps are now located inside the gas tank. This is a great solution, but when the fuel pump fails, it's a much more expensive proposition to replace it.
Sealed wheel bearing assemblies are another example. These wheel bearings can't be serviced – you just have to replace the entire assembly when it starts to fail. That costs several times as much as service on non-sealed bearings.
So we all benefit in Apple Valley Minnesota from design improvements, but we need to plan for repairs down the road.
There's a tool that can be found on Edmunds.com that you can use to prepare your service and repair budget.
Let's suppose you have a 2003 Toyota Camry – a very popular car in Apple Valley Minnesota. It's now paid for and you'd like to keep it running for the next three years. You can go to Edmunds' True Cost to Own calculator and enter your vehicle's data. The calculator will provide estimates of what it'll cost to service and repair your vehicle over the next five years. The estimate is based on where you live in or near Apple Valley Minnesota, manufacturers' recommendations and repair experience for your particular model.
Of course these are just estimates – there's no way to predict what'll actually happen to the car in your driveway, but it's a good starting point.
The calculator also has estimates for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel costs.
Let's focus on maintenance and repair. This table shows that the average monthly cost of maintenance and repairs is eighty-three dollars. That may sound like a lot, but compare it to a new car payment.
So if you set aside eighty-three dollars a month, you'd go a long ways towards taking care of routine maintenance and being prepared for the unexpected repairs that arise.
Of course, you can't predict when something will go wrong or what it'll cost, but at least you have a reasonable target to shoot for.
Some people around Apple Valley Minnesota are afraid of what can go wrong with their older car so they buy a new one. That's fine if you really want a new car, but if you properly maintain your older vehicle, you'll save a lot of money on new car payments and insurance. It just makes good economic sense.
Get with your Apple Valley Minnesota service advisor at Valley Auto Care and work out a plan for keeping your vehicle on the road.
You can visit Valley Auto Care at 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105 in Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124 or just give us a call at 952-431-2700.
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Archive for November 2011
Budgeting for Maintenance In Apple Valley Minnesota
Date: November 22, 2011 9:49 AM - Category: Maintenance
Tracking True In Minnesota: Wheel Alignment In Burnsville
Date: November 16, 2011 2:25 PM - Category: Alignment
Wheel alignment is often overlooked by busy Burnsville and Rosemount car owners until serious tire damage has been done. One wheel can be knocked out of alignment from the rest by hitting a curb or pothole on Apple Valley roads.
When a vehicle’s out of alignment, one or more of the wheels does not track true and pulls against the others. The tires will wear out very quickly and will need to be replaced prematurely. It could also lead to car suspension damage.
But the big issue for Burnsville, Rosemount, and Apple Valley motorists is safety. When your car wheels are out of alignment, the vehicle will pull to one side, which could lead to an accident. When you’re out of alignment, you should have it taken care of right away at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley.
At Valley Auto Care, your vehicle is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are checked for damage. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the factory settings.
Adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels going in precisely the same direction.
Signs of alignment problems are: Your car pulls to one side. Also, your steering wheel may not be centered when you’re going straight. If you see the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down, you should have your Apple Valley service center look it over. If you’ve been in an auto accident in Minnesota that involved a wheel, you should get your alignment checked.
A big jolt can seriously knock things out of alignment, but Burnsville drivers also need to understand that a series of smaller ones can add up.
That’s why your manufacturer recommends periodic alignment checks. If your car owner’s manual doesn’t specify, once a year might be appropriate. Or check with Scott Brouwer or your service advisor at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley.
One thing’s for sure: the cost of the alignment at Valley Auto Care is cheaper than having to buy a couple of new tires because of neglect.
Make Your Vehicle Last
Date: November 10, 2011 2:00 PM - Category: Maintenance
We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days people were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most people couldn't afford new cars very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.
It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Minnesota penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Apple Valley car owners making sure we follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.
Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between an oil change, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and clog passages. Then some parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.
It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your maintenance and to hold off further damage.
And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor help you keep track of the rest.
Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Valley Auto Care is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Nighttime Visibility In Apple Valley
Date: November 4, 2011 10:41 AM - Category: Headlamps
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high nighttime accident rate in the greater Apple Valley area, things like drowsy driving and a higher rate of impaired driving. Without a doubt, visibility is a major contributor. Let's focus on visibility…
It's said that 90 percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. Nighttime driving has the effect of reducing 20/20 vision to the equivalent of 20/50 vision. What you could clearly see at 50 feet in daylight can't be seen until you are just 20 feet away at night.
Too make sure your headlights are giving you the greatest visibility, visit us at Valley Auto Care. you'll find us located on 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124. Please give us a call to make an appointment: 952-431-2700.
Accident avoidance is dependent on reaction time. Reaction time deteriorates measurably in low light conditions. One thing we can do to improve visibility is to make sure our headlights are as bright as they can possibly be.
Headlamps dim over time. They dim so gradually that you may not notice it. Many experts suggest replacing your standard or halogen headlamps once a year.
If your vehicle has standard headlamps, consider upgrading to halogen lamps. They make a big difference. And there are upgrades available within the halogen category as well. This once-a-year expense is very modest compared to the safety benefits.
Some cars come with high intensity discharge – or HID – headlamps. These lamps should last for the life of your car. They are very bright and are clearly the best option for nighttime driving. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to upgrade to HID headlamps. Talk with your Apple Valley service advisor at Valley Auto Care about options for your car.
Another startling fact is that 90 percent of cars on the road have dirty or yellowed headlight covers. Dirty is easy to fix. Just run the window washer over the headlight cover when you stop for gas. Get those bugs and dirt off the cover.
Now plastic headlight covers can yellow or become hazy over time. They can be restored to clarity with a special polishing process. Valley Auto Care can help you with this service.
It's also vital to keep your windshield clean and streak free when driving at night. Make sure you have plenty of washer fluid and that your windshield wipers are in good working order.
We recommend replacing wiper blades twice a year – in the spring and fall. Fall is also a good time to replace headlamps so you'll be ready for those long winter nights.