Most Americans own at least one personal vehicle, or someone in their immediate families do. There are some, of course, who have never owned and will never own a personal vehicle. There are some people who can’t or won’t perform basic automotive maintenance on their vehicles, which is usually caused by nothing more than pure laziness.
Basic Personal Vehicle Maintenance
I’m not familiar with diesel engine vehicles, and I’m not familiar with electric vehicles. I’m very familiar with the most common vehicles in the United States, which are gasoline-powered vehicles. While I’m sure every other type of vehicle requires maintenance, I can only write about the vehicles I’m familiar with.
While I may not be intimate with certain vehicle designs, I’m certain the basic automotive maintenance would be the same as those I am intimate with. I’ve never owned an SUV or a pickup truck, although I’ve driven them. I’ve owned cars and vans, and you can call them whatever you want. Some cars are called coupes and some are called sedans, but I can’t tell you which are which without spending more time thinking about them than I already have.
It’s easier to maintain a personal vehicle than it ever was, in my opinion. You can buy air compressors to keep your tires inflated to the levels indicated on the sidewalls, and they aren’t expensive. Many of them can be plugged into vehicle electrical accessory ports. Automotive stores can provide you with all the fluids for the items you need to check periodically.
Lazy people will wait until they have periodic service done by car dealers, or places that specialize in automotive services. Places such as Firestone and Jiffy Lube. My wife and I used Jiffy Lube for years when we lived in the United States, but only for oil changes (due to oil disposal laws) and making sure the batteries didn’t need to be replaced.
The Things We Need to Check
A lot of people ignore the one thing that tells us exactly what we need to do and when. It’s the automotive user manual that comes with the car. Sometimes, especially when buying used cars, the manual isn’t included. Fortunately, it can usually be found online as a PDF file, although it may take longer than it should to find the right one.
There are checks that should be performed periodically. It really is up to you to determine how often you need to check these things. Most automotive service centers suggest 3000 miles (5000 kilometers) or three months at the minimum for simply changing the oil in a car or truck. 600 miles (1000 kilometers) for the smaller motorcycles.
The periodic checks should cover, in no particular order:
- Tire Pressure
- Radiator Fluid Level
- Oil Level
- Brake Fluid Level
- Transmission Fluid Level
- Power Steering Fluid Level
- Wiper Wash Receptacle Level
If done frequently, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to do everything on any given day, provided you have extra containers of fluid stored somewhere.
Living Without Personal Vehicles
When we’re young, typically teenagers, we can’t wait to start driving some type of personal vehicle. That novelty wears off when it becomes a necessity. Personally, I envy those who can live without owning or driving a personal vehicle. I’ve never been fortunate enough to live anywhere with good mass transit options for very long.
Some people live in places where there isn’t anywhere to park a vehicle, but they have good mass transit options nearby. They may see the lack of a vehicle as a disadvantage, but I see it as a blessing. It’s that way in most places in the Philippines, outside the Manila metro area, anyway. I would much rather ride a bus or a train (or jeepneys) than deal with owning a car.
When you consider every expense that comes with owning a personal vehicle, using a mass transit option can quickly become a preferred method of travel. The expenses include insurance costs, yearly registration fees and the items you need to maintain it. To top it all off, a personal vehicle is usually a family’s second-highest expense, just after the home they own (if they own a home).