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The Real Cost of Not Maintaining Your Car

Unfortunately, buying and insuring your car isn't the end of what, for most of us, is the second most expensive purchase we're likely to make after a house or flat. Whether you've bought a relatively inexpensive second-hand car or a brand spanking new one, maintaining it is going to be an ongoing cost. Of course, there's always the temptation to neglect routine maintenance, especially if the car is running well, but the truth is that the real cost of not maintaining your car can be a lot higher than keeping up with it as you go along.

While some of the potential costs of not maintaining a car can be fairly obvious, some of them are definitely not so obvious. So, let's take a look at what you could be in for if you don't keep up with maintaining your car.

Lower residual value

If you don't stick to the recommended service schedule outlined by the manufacturer, the car won't have a full service history anymore and it won't be worth as much as it should be when the time comes to sell. Even a single missed service, especially with a relatively new car, can knock more off the resale value than the cost of the service itself.

Bigger problems down the line

What might seem like a mildly annoying fault or noise to start off with, can go on to become something considerably more significant if left alone. The initial problem might be something really small and cheap to fix if you get it seen to straight away. However, that problem could start to have an adverse effect on other components and systems if left unchecked, and that could lead to considerably bigger bills later on.

Accident risks

Even if you're facing a relatively large bill to fix something, it's probably going to be a lot less expensive than dealing with the results of any potential accident that could occur as a result of a critical failure. And that's before you even consider the potential for physical harm to the driver and any passengers.


Small chips and tiny cracks in windscreens are an unavoidable fact of life, especially for drivers doing a lot of motorway miles. It can be tempting to put off getting a tiny chip repaired, but a cheap or even free to fix chip could easily turn into an unfixable crack at any time, especially in colder weather when water expands as it turns to ice in the chip. If you have a heated windscreen, you really could be in for a substantial bill for a replacement.


One area of routine maintenance most often left too long concerns tyres. If you find a particular tyre keeps needing air putting in it there's obviously some sort of problem. It could be a valve, it could be a tiny puncture, or it could be rust on the wheel rims breaking the seal. Whichever cause is behind the problem, it's not going to get better if you leave it. Over time, you're leaving yourself open to uneven wear on all your tyres, which could mean having to replace them all sooner than if you'd got the slow puncture fixed right away. Once again, there's also the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the tyre and the potential for a serious accident.

Also, if you don't check tread depth regularly your tyres could fall below the legal limit. At this point, you're leaving yourself open to a costly fine, but you're also driving on potentially dangerous tyres that could easily lead to an accident.


If you have a warranty protecting your car, it may be invalidated if you don't keep up with recommended routine servicing and maintenance. If a car then develops a major fault that would have been covered if the warranty hadn't been invalidated, how good an idea would saving that money earlier seem then?

It doesn't matter how small and insignificant a problem may be or how much it costs to keep up with routine servicing and maintenance, it's always going to be cheaper in the long run.

19 October 2016

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