1 in 5 Massachusetts drivers behind on 2 basic service requirements, auto company says

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BOSTON — More than one in five Massachusetts drivers are behind on their vehicle’s basic maintenance requirements, according to a new report from auto company Carfax.

Carfax graded Massachusetts and New Hampshire drivers as “below average” when it comes to keeping up with routine oil changes and tire rotations. The company said the results are based on data from 35 million vehicles across the country.

“For a lot of owners, either they want to do it and they’re [too] busy, or they’re worried about the finances,” said Carfax Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen.

According to Olsen, the Massachusetts data breaks down like this:

  • 30% are behind on oil changes
  • 45% are behind on tire rotations
  • 22% are behind on both

“The problem is, yes, it’s expensive at [upfront], but it’s way more expensive if you put it off,” Olsen said. “It might cost you $150 twice a year to get oil changes and tire rotations, but if your car goes without oil for long enough the engine will seize up. Then you’re talking anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 or more to replace that engine.”

Olsen said tires should be rotated twice a year or every 5,000 miles, depending on how much you drive your car. Oil change requirements can vary depending on the type of vehicle, but Olsen said most drivers should replace their oil and oil filter every 5,000 miles.

“With synthetic oil, yes, it’s definitely more expensive, but the intervals between changes are higher so it may not cost you more out of pocket over the course of a year than the old conventional oil. It’s crucial you check the owner’s manual,” he said.

Jamaica Plain driver Evelyn Collie said she knows the benefits of staying on top of car maintenance. Collie said she once had a Jeep that lasted 19 years because she took such good care of it.

“A lot of things can go wrong [if you don’t stay up on it],” Collie said. “The oils get dirty and messes with your engine, and with the New England weather, you’ve got to take care of your tires.”

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