Why Would I Have To Buy In Pairs Or Sets To Do The Job Right?
Vehicle maintenance can get expensive. Most car parts are a small fortune, so it makes sense to buy just what you need, or does it? Maintaining a car requires some thought and strategy. You want to avoid unexpected problems and do it in a cost effective way. Thinking about how to do the job right might require buying in pairs and sets.
So why buy in pairs and sets? Well if money is tight, like it has been for many of us, your repair funds may be limited. You may be forced to buy just what you can at the time to just get by. However, you may be costing yourself more without realizing it.
It’s only logical to assume that, “when one goes, the other isn’t far behind.” If one of your headlights or brake lights burn out, figure on the other one being right behind it. Everything is made with a certain life expectancy, for bulbs they are rated at so many hours before failure.
Now granted you can buy a bad bulb, and it can burn out the very day you install it. Let’s ignore that topic for now, because that is another story and you don’t want to get me ranting about that. To my point though, you wouldn’t buy just one sneaker, you wouldn’t buy just one ear ring. Granted. those are sold in pairs, but if they didn’t, would you just buy one?
Buying In Pairs and Sets is Actually Cheaper
Automotive repairs should be in two’s and four’s so to speak, pairs and sets. It’s a dangerous idea to replace brake pads on one side, but not the other. You shouldn’t replace one tire without replacing the other side, if not all four. When it come to tires, always buy in pairs or sets, preferably sets if you can.
Look at engines and tune ups. There are actually Tune Up Shops that change just one spark plug and or one plug wire. They justify this because their scanner shows that is weak or bad… Hello, are you stupid?
So how does spending a little extra money for two instead of just the one, save you money? Headlights for example, you can buy the replacement bulbs, two per pack. This will usually save you around $1 to $2 bucks, but here is the real savings. Many newer car designs, require you to pull the front bumper cover to change the bulbs. Mazda’s and Honda’s are the worst for this. Some of these cars require going through the wheel-well to access the bulbs. Imagine having to pay labor twice on a bumper cover removal, just to save a few dollars.
Even if you’re a decent mechanic or body man yourself, this means time to do it twice. Autozone or Advance won’t be changing out these types of bulbs for you in the parking lot. So buying both bulbs as a pair, not only saves money on the part, but time and labor as well. Even if you did it yourself, doesn’t your time count for something?
To that thought and strategy I mentioned earlier. A pair of new bulbs will have about the same life expectancy to them.This goes for spark plugs, plug wires, coil packs and brake components. All parts are designed to last a certain amount of time before changing them out. With that said, this can help you with your maintenance. Knowing you will be changing parts out in pairs or sets, can kind of take out some of the unknown factors.
By changing out both bulbs, you can project you have a certain length of time before worrying about it again. This method is going to be a factor in all your maintenance. Belts for example, change them all out at once. By doing so, you can project a length of time before worrying about that issue. By buying in pairs or sets, you are making maintenance modular. If you were to make a checklist, you can check off maintenance items in blocks. Like, Headlamps, Tuneup, Brakes, Belts, Tires and so on. By changing one part of pairs or sets, one at a time, it makes it harder to anticipate failings. It also makes it harder to keep up with your maintenance.
Do It While You Are There
When it comes to tune ups, it is ridiculous to even think of just changing one spark plug. Most cars today have coil packs, eliminating the spark plug wire. Coil packs are not always easy to replace. Spark plugs are designed to go from 60,000 to 100,000 miles before needing replaced. Coil Packs are usually good up to 100,000 miles. Here is the killer on labor. You will find the coil packs on many V6 engines, under the intake manifold or the upper plenum.
With the spark plugs under the coil packs and the coil packs under the manifold, there’s a big labor charge. It only makes sense to buy a set of spark plugs and coil packs. In this scenario, if you tried to save money buying just the spark plug that is bad and not buy any coil packs. This will end up costing you way more money, having to keep paying labor repeating the partial tune-up.
Water pumps and belts, why would you change the pump without replacing the belt? There are just things on cars and trucks that makes sense to change out a little more than the target issue, “do it while you are there” type thing. It is always best to research your project before getting started, just be prepared to buy in pairs or sets.
Spending Your Money Wisely
When it comes to tires, it’s ideal to change them all out at the same time. However, if money is tight, change them out in pairs.
Many people are guilty of this, so you need to carefully think about this. You can go buy old “May Pop Tires” from a used tire store for roughly $35 each. That tire will get you down the road maybe two to four months. Then you’re back buying another one. So now you are another $35 into a crappy tire. Think about it, you are now around over half, if not three quarters of the cost of one new tire. Depending on your driving habits, a new tire should last you two to three years. You are just wasting money, time and putting your safety at risk.
The next time your car has a problem, compare the cost to future cost and weigh your options. If you had to have surgery for few different issues. Wouldn’t you rather be cut open one time and get it all fixed while they were there? Imagine the money, time and risk of going back in multiple times. Poor planning, makes for poor performance…
I understand that money doesn’t grow on trees and we often make mistakes trying to save a dollar. I’m as guilty as the next person. Through my own lessons learned and watching others make these mistakes, believe me, you are saving money by spending it wisely. Goes to the old saying, “spend money to make money”. I feel this applies to savings as well. With that said, if you have a car issue and your money is tight. If what you are being told to fix the issue doesn’t sound right, contact me and I will see if I can help.
What About Motorcycles?
Some bikes have dual headlamps and even two taillight bulbs in a single housing. Always change these out in pairs or sets. Changing spark plugs and wires in pairs or sets, is really crucial on a motorcycle. Bikes are higher precision machines and for optimized operation and your safety, do a thorough maintenance. For any type service, if there are dual parts or things that require sets, don’t skim by on them…
With a motorcycle, your tire maintenance is really crucial. You only have two tires on the ground to keep you balanced and in control. If you lose one while riding, you may be be kissing the ground. As I mention in a previous post, “How to maintain your motorcycle for this summer’s riding”, a motorcycle is kind of like an aircraft. Everything has to be maintained and in proper order as your life depends on it more so than a car.
On a motorcycle, the rear tire wears out way faster than the front. Actually, you can see up to three rear tire changes to one front tire change. I have a 1976 Honda XL70 that I still get out and ride from time to time. I have bought more rear tires than I can remember, but I am still on the factory front tire. Would I recommend anyone else doing that? NO!!! The bike is small and have done both trail and street riding. Although, I should have changed that front tire probably back in 1979. So should you buy your tires in pairs?
Tires are funny creatures, they can keep what looks like a good tread for years. However, tires start becoming hard and rigid, thus decreasing traction and increasing the chance of a blowout. Tires dry-rot over time and become a real hazard to blow outs or just plain coming apart.
Even though the rear tire wears faster than the front, I highly recommend changing your tires as a pair. No matter if it is a street or dirt bike, buying in pairs is the safest method. If you are unsure about choosing tires for your motocross or plain dirt bike, this article might help – How To Choose The Right Motocross Tire.
It is actually a cost savings to buy in pairs or sets. Even though you’re having to fork over a larger wad of cash initially, you are saving money. Once you get in the habit of buying things in pairs or sets, you will start seeing the savings. For example, you replace one worn out wiper blade. Next month you now have to buy the other side. Then about two months down the road, you are buying the one you thought you just replaced.
Same with headlight bulbs. Many people just replace the side that burned out. Then, a month or less later, you have to buy the other side. As I mentioned earlier, if there is body labor involved to change headlamp bulbs, plan on spending some extra money. Times are tough and we all need to watch the dollar. It is understandable if you only have enough to buy one bulb, you have to do what you can. However, just realize that buying in pairs or sets is more cost effective and time efficient. Parts are made with a life expectancy, so pairs and sets also make you maintenance easier.