An unexciting way to spend your tax return: Vehicle maintenance and repairs

March 6 2023, John Nicholson


Tax return season is one of the bright spots of the year. It's when you can get the government to return your hard earned money. You can spend this windfall on a myriad of exciting things; vacations, shopping spree, fishing supplies, new wardrobe…etc. But one area you should place emphasis on that may not be very exciting is making sure your vehicle is running optimally by completing preventative and required maintenance and repairs.

Next to your house, your vehicle is your next most expensive expense. It's critical you maintain your vehicle so it's going to be operations when you need it. Trips to school, work, grocery store…etc are vital to people's day-to-day lives and most people in North America rely on their personal vehicle to get them around. Having your vehicle not start, or break down when you're picking up your kids, or driving to a job interview can be devastating.

There's two types of car maintenance: Scheduled and Non-Scheduled.

Scheduled Car Maintenance

Every car comes with a maintenance plan. Many of us could find that schedule in the glove compartment of our car either in the owner's manual or in the folder it's contained in. If you cannot find your schedule, your local franchise dealer's service department will be able to produce one for you or you can download it online. Highlights of the service maintenance program may include:   

Oil Changes 

Tire rotation

Cooling system flush

Replace cabin air filter

Replace air filter

Replace fuel filter

Repack wheel bearings

Lubricating ball joints

Parts inspection

Completing scheduled car maintenance is relatively inexpensive and stops incurring larger costly repairs down the road. The whole point to owning a car is so you can use it for its intended purposes, not have it broken down and in the service center.

Unscheduled Wear Maintenance

Unscheduled maintenance is where things can get expensive, but they are vital. This is most likely where you will need that tax refund to assist with the cost. While some wear items we expect, such as tires and brakes, there are lots of moving parts keeping your car on the road. Other unscheduled maintenance items may include:

Ball joint replacement

Exhaust system replacement

Suspension components


Steering linkage

Cooling hoses

Electrical/electronic components

You can save money in the long run by properly maintaining your vehicle by trained certified mechanics for your vehicle's OEM service center.

Your car is your lifeline to work, groceries and play. Keeping your car properly maintained and operating in top shape not only keeps it operating so you can use it when you need it, but it also helps increase its resale value when it comes time to get something else. Using your tax return may give many people the financial opportunity to complete much needed mechanical work completed on their vehicle.

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