With the current difficult economic climate, motor vehicle owners will be striving to save as much as they can on unnecessary repairs, by following a regular maintenance schedule and other money saving measures.
It is generally recommended that motor vehicle owners schedule at least two vehicle checkups per year with a certified vehicle technician. Preventative maintenance can be considered cheap insurance, as it provides an opportunity to spot small changes that may lead to future problems.
According to Duane Ellis, General Manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), scheduled maintenance with a well trained and certified technician, is a wise investment. “With a minimum two visits a year, you will be able to get an update on the status of your vehicle. This type of preventative maintenance will help drivers to remain a step ahead of any potential problems with their car”.
He noted that depending on the type of vehicle, two scheduled maintenance visits annually, can cost upwards of $40,000, a small sum compared to repair work for a poorly maintained car.
“The simple act of checking your car’s tyres and wheels can also save on costly repairs down the road”. Mr Ellis pointed out that if tyres wear unevenly or if wheels are unbalanced, vibrations can cause excess stress on the vehicle’s suspension components.
“Excess stress on certain car parts can mean extra trips to the mechanic,” he noted, adding that this can be avoided, “by checking to make sure the tread on your tires are wearing evenly – and taking your car in if it’s not.”
Another important aspect of vehicle maintenance is regular fluid checks. These checks should be done monthly and fluids such as brake and clutch fluid or coolant, topped up as required.
Finally owners should address problems within their vehicles early and never ignore any abnormal sounds.
“Strange noises in a car are always caused by something, that if left unattended will only get worse,” Mr Ellis advised.
Through its Approved Auto Repairer Programme, the JAA connects its members with over 23 certified auto repair facilities across the island, which have been pre-screened and certified to provide vehicle maintenance services at the highest level.
“The JAA approves only facilities that meet the highest standards in vehicle repair, competency, reliability, cleanliness, overall experience and fair pricing,” Mr. Ellis noted, adding that the repair facilities “must also employ only trained, certified technicians, and offer timely repairs, convenient hours and courteous service.”