Following Routine Maintenance Schedules Can Save You Thousands

We just bought a lawnmower for our new house.

Our awesome manual reel lawnmower wasn’t made for the type of grass we have at our new house.

It left a ton of tall blades in our lawn. That wasn’t going to cut it.

The first thing I did with our new lawnmower, after opening the box, was look for the owner’s manual.

I wanted to ensure I set up my brand new lawnmower correctly so I wouldn’t cause any damage that would shorten the life of my lawnmower.

Why? Last time I owned a gas lawnmower it died. Repairing it would have cost more than it would cost to buy a new lawnmower.

The sad part is, I only had myself to blame.

What I Found In The Owner’s Manual

When I read through the Owner’s Manual I found some pretty important stuff including safety precautions, how to put my lawnmower together the correct way, how to adjust my lawn mower and a routine or preventative maintenance schedule.

Due to the fact that I work in a manufacturing environment, the first thing I did was read through the safety manual. My job puts a lot of focus on safety and you should do the same around your house.

You don’t want to hurt yourself and end up needing to use your short or long term disability insurance or, the worst case, you don’t want to have to use your life insurance.

Next I read how to put the lawnmower together and how to adjust the settings. While the safety and general instructions were important, the last thing I read was the most important to my finances.

That’s right, the routine or preventative maintenance schedule has the largest potential to have an impact on your finances.

Why Routine and Preventative Maintenance Is Important

Remember how I said I killed a lawnmower in the past? It’s because I didn’t read the preventative and routine maintenance schedule.

That indirectly caused me to buy two lawn mowers. First, I bought the awesome manual reel lawnmower because I no longer had a lawn mower that worked. Then, I bought our new lawnmower, because I don’t have the original gas lawnmower I bought.

So what is so important about maintenance? If you properly maintain your purchases, they’ll be less likely to break. That means less repair costs and less replacement costs.

How I Killed My First Lawnmower

I had no clue you’re supposed to change oil in a lawn mower after the first 5 hours, then again every 50 hours after that.

I had no clue I was supposed to add fuel stabilizer to lawnmower fuel and I should avoid using gas with any ethanol in it.

I had no clue there was an air filter on a lawnmower and that I needed to clean it.

Had I done these simple tasks and followed the rest of the preventative and routine maintenance, I’d say there is a 95% chance that original lawnmower would still be running today.

I would have saved myself hundreds of dollars. But wait… didn’t I say preforming routine and preventative can save me thousands of dollars? It can!

How Performing Routine and Preventative Maintenance Saves Thousands of Dollars

You don’t just perform maintenance on lawnmowers. You need to perform maintenance on a lot of high dollar purchases including houses, cars, boats, RVs, computers, air conditioners, motorcycles and a ton of other things, too.

If you don’t perform the maintenance, you probably won’t get the full potential life out of your purchases. While some items might only require repairs if you don’t perform maintenance, other items could die completely without warning.

Wouldn’t it suck if you didn’t ever change the oil in your car and have your engine seize up after only 10,000-20,000 miles. I hope you plan on getting a lot more miles than that out of your car. If you don’t, you must have a lot more money than I do.

Buyer Beware – Not All Maintenance Schedules Are Created Equal

As with any purchase or transaction, you need to be fully aware of the fact that companies might not be giving you the most advantageous information for you as a customer.

They’ll likely err on the side of caution when it comes to how often you should perform maintenance. After all, if you’re using their supplies and parts, they make money when you perform maintenance.

You can always do some research and talk to qualified technicians to see if the recommended preventative or routine maintenance schedules are accurate or if they are just there to make the company more money.

Do you read owner’s manuals and perform preventative or routine maintenance? Have you ever had something break due to the fact you didn’t perform maintenance? Share your stories below in the comments so we can all learn!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. I perform routine “maintenance” on most things I own. I find that when I go to sell it, I can get more money for it because I kept it in such excellent condition throughout my ownership of it. This isn’t saying I only do this so that I can get top dollar when I sell, I do it so that I can get the most out of the item in question. Being able to turn around and sell of top dollar is an added bonus.

  2. We’ve been married eight years and I think we’re on our third lawnmower! Obviously we aren’t very good at maintaining them. I actually think that the mowers we buy are too cheap to begin with so they just fall apart.

    • Holly you are probably right that they were just cheap cruddy mowers to begin with. Mr PoP had gotten into restoring vintage mowers (think 20-30 yrs old) and its nice because it’s a pod hobby for him and we end up with something usable that is actually better than what we could have bought new. The old ones tend to be much higher quality if you get the right ones b

  3. In the beginning I never would read the owner’s manual and boy did it cost me in both cars and equipment. Now I read most of the owner manuals but usually not all of the content. There are a lot of great tips and information in the owners manual but boy some of those books are like going to school for your masters.

  4. One of the reasons I have been able to keep my cars so long is consistent maintenance. I made sure I changed the oil routinely.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever read an owner’s manual before but I probably should start!

  6. I always read the owner’s manual before using something for the first time!
    I’ve had so much “bad luck” with electronic devices in the past, it seemed like everything I bought and touched would stop working!
    So, I agree and also pass it on to everyone I can: reading the manual is important, all it takes is a few minutes that could save a lot of money in the long run (not to mention the headaches!).

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