Back in the early spring I shared with you the importance of maintenance, both with marriages and vehicles. In the months following that, I did not heed my own advice. My husband and I had a full day of marriage coaching in March and learned so much. But then life happened. Busyness crept in. Old habits resurfaced. Selfishness reigned. And I basically ignored all I was taught. I was not doing my part to maintain our marriage.
But then, my mother-in-law, whom I love dearly, suggested a book ("Fierce Woman" by Kimberly Wagner). I ordered it and put it on my nightstand. When I finally opened it and began to read, I stopped in my tracks. What on earth was my MIL suggesting-that I was an obnoxious wife that needed taming? Those are the first thoughts that rolled in my head.
But then I remembered, she loves me, she loves her son, she prays for us constantly, she wants the best for us. When I was honest with the situation and began to humbly read the words within, my heart changed. Not just about my MIL's reason for sending such a book to me but about the kind of wife that I am and want to be. It is my responsibility to do my part in making repairs to my heart and then, sometimes with friendly reminders, do things and take time to ensure I am keeping up on maintenance items too…even if it is just reading a book and honestly looking at myself.
Just like reminders for marriage maintenance when I forgot all I learned, these very same things happen with our vehicles. We know that they must be maintained, but busyness creeps in. Other things require our attention and our money. And sometimes we just ignore it until it becomes a repair that could have been prevented had we done the maintenance needed.
Maintenance is not fun! If we take time and spend money to do prescribed maintenance on our vehicles, likely we won't even notice a difference after it's completed. Even if we do the items recommended and in a timely fashion, we certainly don't have any guarantees that nothing will go wrong-especially past the warranty period, right? Well perhaps, but maybe not. Let's dig into this a bit.
Do you have a choice?
No matter if your vehicle if fresh from the dealership or well used, it will always need routine maintenance (just like fresh marriages or couples that have been married for many years). If your vehicle is under the manufacturer warranty, dealerships lead you to believe you must return to them to ensure the warranty remains in effect, but this is not the case you have a choice where you take it. An independent automotive shop can perform the maintenance needed on your vehicle without voiding the warranty, and there may be other benefits in choosing them.
Did you know that some independent shops have a relationship with reputable companies who provide high quality fluids for your vehicle and offer a free lifetime protection plan if their recommended maintenance schedule is followed? They are so confident in the performance of their fluids that they back their products for a lifetime. These warranties vary depending on when you started servicing your vehicle with their fluids. This protection plan will oftentimes cover thousands of dollars in repair bills if something happens to your vehicle while it's being properly serviced using their fluids. Auto shops with this program would be happy to explain the details to you.
What's your part?
There are some things to keep in mind to ensure you do not void any warranty you have on your vehicle.
- Be sure to read your warranty, know what it covers and understand the timeline of it.
- Take your vehicle in for service at the recommended intervals and keep records and receipts. Keeping records allows you to prove proper maintenance was performed if a warranty claim comes up. Most repair shops are able to provide you with an emailed receipt too. Furthermore, if you sell your vehicle, you are able to offer these great records as a selling point showing that your vehicle has been properly maintained.
- If you don't have an auto home, consider finding one. Not only will you have a copy of all of your records, but your trusted auto home will as well. These professionals can also keep you up-to-date on needed maintenance and even send you friendly reminders.
In relationships and in vehicle ownership, there are no guarantees. However, we are able to control, to some degree, the health of our vehicles and the health of our relationships with regular maintenance (and some repairs).
Make sure you do your part. With your car, educate yourself about warranties you have, service your vehicle regularly and trust the professionals. With your relationships, the best advice is something I learned recently. God did not create us to be loved by others. God created us to learn how to love like He does. Forgivingly, unselfishly, not expecting anything in return. This is how my MIL loves and because of this and her faithfulness, she just celebrated fifty years of marriage. Now that is a professional I trust!