Is Car Maintenance Good for the Soul?

I had my timing belt changed a few months ago, and I marveled at how much smoother the car ran. At 111,000 miles, I changed the spark plugs (yesterday). Wow, my 2005 Accord EX V6 sounds and feels fabulous, and I’ve been smiling all day. This must be how it ran when new. I’d forgotten how smooth, quiet and powerful the car is when everything is up-to-date.

I can relate to that. Every fall when we rotate over to studded winter tires, by necessity, we eventually get use to the vibration and noise just to realize the traction benefits. Ahh, then comes spring and changing over is LIKE getting a new car.
Your right, like you I feel, this must be the way the car was meant to ride and this 10 year old car ain’t so bad after all…
Just don’t try out one of the new Accords !

I found adjusting valve lash on my old Hondas (75-88) especially satisfying.
Unfortunately my '06 Toyota Matrix will be a PITA.

I’m not naturally mechanically inclined, but it is very satisfying- some to the soul, some to the pocketbook- in being able to do simple repair and maintenance. No, I don’t need the dealer’s $35 special to replace my cabin air filter- that’s $14 and 6 minutes. $15 for a side marker bulb replacement- $2 and 5 minutes. The moderately elderly lady next door whose car problem is getting the license renewal sticker on her plate, I can do that and that is good for the soul. And doing a routine oil change does make you feel good. Maybe not so hot in February in Wisconsin, but still good.

@jtsanders Although I like doing necessary mainteance, I believe that the best maintenance is maintenance WE DON’T HAVE TO DO!

A friend owned a 1960s Jaguar and it said to “decoke” the cylinder heads every 20,000 miles!!! Road and Track magazine suggested an Italian “tuneup”, running the engine fast is 2nd or 3rd gear to blow out the cobwebs.That’s the kind of maintenance we can do without.

When I grew up as a teenager I had to make sure our 2 family cars and pickup were properly maintained. I dutifully changed oil and filters every 1000 miles and changed antifreeze every year, made sure belts were intact, etc. I also maintained farm equipment. Good discipline and, like chicken soup, “good for the soul”.

Many years ago, Eric Savereid, a well know TV columnist interviewed a San Francisco longshoreman, also named Eric, surname Hoffer, I believe. This man was a philosopher as well, and his theory was that a culture that respects and does maintenance is an enduring culture.The typical mentality in San Francisco in the sixties was anything but maintenance-oriented.

Hoffer wanrned that if America collapsed as a civilization, someone would ask “Where are the maintenance records?”

As I travel to various parts of the world, I pick airlines that have good maintenance records and practices.

I think so. I believe in taking good care of things and keeping machines looking and running new. I kind of view a lot of them as a work of art that someone or many someones slaved over to produce, so we should reverently care for them.

“A friend owned a 1960s Jaguar and it said to “decoke” the cylinder heads every 20,000 miles!!! Road and Track magazine suggested an Italian “tuneup”, running the engine fast is 2nd or 3rd gear to blow out the cobwebs.”

I had a 1970 Austin America. Two valves were burned by the time it had 7500 miles on it. A friend was laughing about it at a cocktail party a few years later. A Brit at the party said that was not at all unusual. Everyone in GB had a top end job on a British Leyland car at 5000 miles becasue the machining and assembly practices were awful.

I’ll add just this one thing: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Don’t underestimate the placebo effect. I could swear my Civic ran smoother every time I changed the oil, but in truth, there is no reason for me to perceive a difference just from doing routine maintenance.

I’d bet your car ran better after the timing belt job because the valves got adjusted. As for the new spark plugs, if there really was a noticeable difference when you changed them, you should have changed them sooner.

As Captain Hogan in "Hogan’s Heros " said to Schultz, the camp guard: “A clean car is a happy car!”. He let them wash Colonel Klinck’s car so Hogan’s heros could bug it.

@Whitey, I probably should have changed them earlier. But 111,000 miles is about what Honda recommends. I have about a half tank left, and I hope to see a couple of MPG better than the last tank. I thought I’d wait for about 3 tanks before reporting the results. And yes, the valves are noticeably quieter since the timing belt change. The plugs did not have as dramatic an effect, but I think there is an improvement.