What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Ignoring Routine Vehicle Maintenance

What Happens When You Ignore Routine Car Maintenance?

Like going to the doctor, people know that proactive car maintenance isn’t something that should be ignored. But because it costs money, eats up time and might not always appear to be immediately necessary, it can get pushed to the side. To help you think about calling a qualified auto repair shop, here’s a small rundown of what happens when scheduled maintenance gets ignored.

Engine Warping

Forget to change oil for the past 10,000 miles? What may start off as a sluggish engine is actually the beginning of (literal) fire heating up components and warping your engine. Left unchecked, the readings of metallic content in the motor oil will jump up to well above average, and the leftover sludge that remains becomes more “motor” than “oil.”


With the exception of vehicle suspension, just about every problem a car experiences is due to one of the components being exposed to heat in some way. From oil changes and fluid flushes, to brakes pads and air filters, most of what we do to keep our cars driving works to protect mechanical components from a slow, drawn out (and usually avoidable) death by heat.

Unsafe to Drive

Due to the fact that they don’t directly impact the health of the engine or drivetrain, a car’s suspension components are typically one of the last things to get replaced. But ignoring them could potentially do much more damage than just a dirty motor. That’s because unlike a car with a blown motor, a car with the dangerously poor drivability brought on by worn-out, unengaged suspension can still be out on the road.

Understanding Service Intervals

To avoid scenarios like those above, service intervals came about to prompt the average car owner to bring his or her car into the shop. If nothing else, they’re a useful reminder that guides owners to better take care of their vehicles – for the most part.

The important thing to remember about them, is that a particular shop’s service intervals might all be different from one another. While one shop might issue a maintenance protocol that ensures customers leave with their car running as strong as possible, another shop might use them as a way to squeeze a little more money out of every visit.

The Service Manual is Your Best Friend

The reason repair shops can recommend their own maintenance schedules in the first place, however, is because most know that people don’t typically read their own car’s manual. That wouldn’t be a huge problem, except for the fact that a lot of the work they suggest doesn’t always need to be done as immediately as they make it sound.

If you know and trust your mechanic, that might not be your experience. But either way, there are two big things you can do right away to make routine maintenance make more sense: Educate yourself by reading the service manual, and bring your car to an open and honest auto repair shop like Federal Way Automotive & Radiator.