Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A step forward in car maintenance

Most of you know that I have been driving a Honda Civic for a few months now, and it continues to be a real performer on gas mileage (and that was the goal!). Even though the price of gas is half of what it was, that just means it is that much more economical.

However, Honda has done something that makes your overall cost of ownership even better. As long as car manufacturers have had computers in cars, I'm surprised that it is in 2008 that I've first seen this feature. Honda has what they call a "Maintenance Minder". In essence, the computer monitors the major components of the car, and it calculates when it is time for maintenance and what exactly needs to be done.

In contrast, every other car I've had came with a preset schedule of what to do when. While based on averages, how many cars are truly due for an oil change at exactly 3000 (or whatever magic number) miles? The Civic keeps track of oil life and tracks down from 100%. When it reaches 15%, the "Maintenance Minder" alerted me that it was time for an "A1" service - oil change and tire rotation. Based on my driving pattern (lots of highway commuting) this happened at about 7200 miles! Most other maintenance schedules would have called for two oil changes by this point.

It's just one of those things that just "makes sense". Why haven't cars been telling us when they need maintenance and what type sooner? Hopefully other car makers will follow suit because I see this as a way to save money and get optimal performance out of a car.

Until next time...

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