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Do I really need to follow factory oil change and maintenance intervals?

Experience tells us that it is cheaper to maintain it than it is to fix it when it's broken. This goes for most items that require periodic maintenance.

Manufacturers design their maintenance programs around multiple factors: what's best for the vehicle, best for them and best for you. Unfortunately, it is probably in that order of importance. As consumers, we automatically assume the program is there to line the pockets of dealers, but here is something else to think about:

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As a busy executive or salesperson who drives a company car, you might not think about the maintenance of that car because it's not your cash, but trust me, the fleet-management company has looked at the dollars for you. The warranty and yearly costs are extensively analyzed.

Fleet leasing represents big money for the manufacturer; therefore it's in its best interest to design a program that fits the needs of all parties. This means designing a maintenance schedule that gives it a competitive advantage. Chances are, if the manufacturer is recommending service at a specific interval, pay attention to it. Fear of out-of-pocket expenses motivates us to be diligent while under warranty but once the warranty expires, so does the fear.

Lou Trottier is the owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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