Alfa Romeo MiTo servicing for less than £15 a month
DON'T SKIMP ON SERVICING, WARNS GLASS'S GUIDE.
IT really is a false economy to miss servicing schedules for your car because what you save now will probably be more than lost later, either when you come to resell it or when something big and expensive goes wrong.
Modern cars are far more reliable than before and the service intervals have been stretched much further but they still need at least an annual visit to the workshop. When I first started to drive around 1980 cars needed oil change every 4,500 miles or so – today manufacturers talk of 20,000 although that is a maximum.
The absolute must-do’s in servicing are oil changes and cambelts. Modern engines are relatively high-revving and the oil does an awful lot of work, not just lubricating but also transferring heat. Its environment is a hellish one and like any other component, it wears out and loses its protective properties. The cambelt is the component that keeps the harmony between the pistons rushing up and down their cylinders and the valves opening down into their space. Were the cambelt to break – and they do – pistons will meet valves at colossal speed. The results, I guarantee, will be expensive. Like a new engine.
But you also need to lift the bonnet to check the coolant, the brake fluid, to see that there are no leaks and you also need to keep an eye on tyre wear.
For a lot of things the best place and the best person to do them is a garage and a qualified mechanic.
And yet we are told this week by Glass’s Guide that a lot of drivers are trying to save pennies by skimping on services but at the risk of losing pounds. It’s done a survey which revealed that 15 per cent of drivers have deferred a service this year, eight per cent have put off buying replacement tyres (!) 15 per cent put off body work and 13 per cent had delayed a check on their car’s air conditioning.
That represents a ticking time bomb that will go off in one of the two ways I outlined at the start.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Quite a few manufacturers offer a maintenance plan where the costs can be paid monthly, rather than in one lump sum.
For example, Alfa Romeo has just launched such a scheme. The driver states their expected annual mileage from which Alfa dealers can work out the projected workshop time and cost of the parts and produce a monthly cost. As a guide, someone driving a diesel Alfa MiTo with air conditioning could buy three years’ of servicing over 31,000 miles for less than £15 a month.
This is much more manageable for a family budget and gives the extra security of having your car’s service book stamped by an approved dealer – which always adds value at resale time - and you get other goodies thrown in such as car collection/delivery at service time or a courtesy car, a quick valet and discounts on Alfa accessories.
As I said, skimping on ca maintenance is very much a false economy but with schemes like Alfa’s doing it properly and protecting your investment doesn’t have to be a pain in your wallet.