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When is it time to stop following the manufacturer's maintenance...

Dear Tom and Ray:

When is it time to stop following the manufacturer's maintenance schedule? I have
a 1993 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon with 102,000 miles on it. For the most part, I have
brought it to the dealer for all of the scheduled maintenance. That means
spending something like $500 or $1,000 a year, even if the car was running
perfectly when I brought it in (to be fair, those bills included brake jobs and
exorbitant repairs to such essential equipment as the seat heaters). But at this
point in the car's life, should I continue to go for the hefty routine
maintenance visits or just wait until things break? -- Steve

RAY: Keep doing the maintenance, Steve. This is a mistake a lot of people make.
Once they get to 75,000 or 100,000 miles, they assume the car is on its way
downhill anyway, so they throw away the book and stop doing the routine
servicing. And it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

TOM: Right. You stop taking care of it, things start to wear out, and you take
the car in one day and they tell you you need $8,000 worth of work. And you say,
"That's ridiculous. On a car with 120,000 miles, I'll just junk it."

RAY: But if you kept doing the maintenance, you'd invest your $500 or $1,000 each
year, and you'd probably never face the $8,000 dilemma.

TOM: Right. They'd get it $1,000 at a time over, say, eight years. And our Volvo-
owning customers tell us it doesn't hurt nearly as much that way.

RAY: Actually, if you keep up on the maintenance, you'll likely spend less in the
end and have a car that runs better and lasts longer. So the answer to your
question -- "When is it time to stop following the manufacturer's maintenance
schedule?" -- is "never."
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