A gentleman called me yesterday complaining his late model Honda Accord suddenly lost power on the way to work. It would not, he explained, go over fifty-five miles per hour. I scheduled him in for today. Not having heard of any chronic failures on the later model four cylinder and six cylinder engines or fuel systems in those, I wasn’t all that surprised when he called me to cancel this morning. Mr. Accord said his Honda was running fine now. I asked him if he had fueled up in the last day or so and he said he had. You already know where I’m going with this after some of the recent car woe posts. Mr. Accord has been fueling up regularly at one of the hole in the wall stations with the lowest octane fuel available. His car has 85,000 miles on it and as I explained to him, the vehicle is filing a grievance.
Then the conversation turned to maintenance. I asked him if the Honda had been getting regular maintenance.
“Yes, I had the 60,000 mile major service done at the dealer,” Mr. Accord assured me.
“Good, that part should be fine for quite a few more miles. Do you get regular oil and filter changes?”
“Not the filter, at least not since the 60,000 mile service.”
Oh boy. “Where did you hear that was a good idea?”
“Nowhere.” Mr. Accord chuckled uneasily.
“I would advise having oil and filter changes done religiously every three to five thousand miles from now on. It gives your mechanic a chance to check the other fluid levels - and inspect your tires, lights, drive belts and hoses. It may seem overkill with the way the manufacturers talk about their invincible product, but having regular maintenance may keep you off the side of the road.”
Remember the old commercial where the grizzled mechanic tells the audience ‘see me now… or see me later’ – where he was advising people to have their oil and filter changed before catastrophic engine failure? The cost of replacing an engine on a late model vehicle is so expensive, you can almost buy another running vehicle of the same kind for the same price. In other words, you won’t be seeing me later. You’ll be buying bus tokens or financing another car loan. Just a word of caution when you’re thinking: ‘Wow, the car’s running great. I’ll skip the service for now’ – don’t skip it. :)