By Ken Phipps, Director of Career Services at Lincoln Tech in Denver, CO and ASE-Certified Master Auto Technician
Why do some cars seem to outlast others? In a word, maintenance. While all car engines will eventually wear out and fail, that process can be slowed dramatically with proper maintenance and regular tune-ups. It’s similar to people that exercise every day. Those in top physical condition have achieved success by committing to regular exercise. When it comes to your car, completing proper, regularly-scheduled maintenance will result in fewer and less expensive repairs.
You might be tempted to cut corners the next time you tune up your car by spending less on parts. Quite often, the extra money spent for high-quality parts when will result in fewer expenses later on. For example, the cost difference between a generic air filter and the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) air filter may be as much as $10.00. However, these items are vastly different in terms of quality.
Saving Money Now May Cost You More in the Long Run When You Tune Up Your Car.
It’s important to remember that the air filter in your car is protecting a very expensive electronic part called the Mass Airflow Sensor. This sensor measures the temperature, density, and volume of the air entering the engine. This information is used to calculate the proper amount of fuel to mix with the incoming air for the best performance and fuel economy. It is also very expensive to replace! Much more than the $10.00 difference in the price of air filters.
OEM air filters often have a rigid aluminum frame surrounded by a rubber seal that makes them fit extremely tightly into the housing. They also usually have more than twice as much filter material (of a higher quality) than the generic, aftermarket filter. Why should that make a difference? When filtering air, if it doesn’t filter ALL of it, it might as well not filter any. Would you wear a gas mask that only removes SOME of the tear gas particles? When it’s time to tune up your car, give yourself peace of mind knowing your engine’s as protected as it can be.
Be Proactive by Scheduling Regular Tune-ups and Oil Changes for Your Car.
Any particles that make it past the air filter are ultimately moved into the internal parts of the engine during the combustion process and can cause even further damage. Those small particles of dust and sand act as an abrasive on internal engine parts when trapped in the engine oil. That is the primary reason you should change your engine oil every 3,000 miles despite claims that it will last much longer. While the lubricating qualities of more expensive oil may not yet be fully diminished, those qualities do nothing to protect your engine from the dirt trapped inside it.
You don’t have to go to a dealer in order to receive quality service for your vehicle. Look for deals on filters like “buy 4 get one free” with any combination of air, cabin and oil filters. You can then take these items to your favorite shop for installation, or ask your shop to purchase and install OEM parts for you. It may cost you a little more up front, but it will save you money and provide peace of mind throughout your journey. Happy motoring!