Hint: We're not just talking money here.
Consider this: for most of us, our vehicle is our life line. We take our kids to school in it. We rely on it for grocery runs to feed our families. We take our elderly parents to doctor appointments. The list goes on and on of tasks that most of us could not do without our vehicle. Tasks that we often take for granted.
Now picture yourself without your vehicle for more than a day. Your 86 year old mother misses her doctor appointment. You run out of formula for the baby. Where does that leave you? Feeling stranded. This scenario is within the realm of reality if you don't take care of your vehicle.
Like a visit to the doctor for a checkup to make sure your medications are working, your automotive technician does a checkup on your vehicle. If you're diabetic, you have to make sure you're taking the proper amount of insulin or things can go terribly wrong. If your vehicle doesn't have enough of the proper fluids in it, it can cause catastrophic problems with your engine. See where we're going with this?
Make a habit for yourself to make routine maintenance appointments for your vehicles. Some shops will even offer a complimentary "health inspection" during a visit. It's good to know what may need urgent attention to avoid catastrophe versus something that you should address within a month or two. Not only will you be able to plan out your maintenance costs but this gives you a chance to get repairs done before a $200 fix becomes a $2000 expense (not to mention being without your vehicle while it's being repaired.) AND that health inspection can bring some serious peace of mind, knowing that your vehicle is safe to drive.
Not only is it important to keep the moving parts of your vehicle in good working order, how about the overall cleanliness? Washing the exterior on a regular basis can help keep your paint in good condition which can help immensely when selling your vehicle. Chemical residue from road brine during the winter months, deep scratches and bubbling paint can lead to rust which will substantially decrease the resale value. Mats to decrease the wear on the carpet over time, clean up spills to avoid stains, etc. It's not about keeping your vehicle pretty but thinking about how much your vehicle will be worth in the future. So, yes, some of this IS about money!
Now, go back and answer that question: How do you value your vehicle? Is your answer the same or different? Now go get your vehicle a checkup and take that baby to the wash!