Lending Club Blog

Following Manufacturers’ Recommendations

Who knows the most about a particular product or service? The obvious answer is the manufacturer or service provider. Yet far too often we disregard their advice and spend more by following rules of thumb.

A classic example is determining when to change the oil in your car. When reading the previous sentence, how many of you instinctively thought that oil should be changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles? That rule of thumb is certainly well-known, much to the glee of your local quick lube establishment. The next time you’re in your car, pull out the owner’s manual and see what the manufacturer recommends. You’ll probably be surprised to learn that it’s much longer than the commonly believed 3 months or 3,000 miles. Age of vehicle, driving style, etc., can all affect the appropriate distance and time between oil changes (3 months or 3,000 miles could actually be correct for you, but you shouldn’t just blindly accept that number).

Manufacturers’ recommendations can go in the opposite direction as well. You may find that a product tends to wear out much faster than you expect. Reading the owner’s manual might key you in on a recommended cleaning or maintenance schedule, much more frequent than you’ve been using, to keep the product working at higher performance for a much longer time. Preventive maintenance is usually easy and inexpensive and almost always ends up saving you money compared to major repairs or frequent replacements.

Here on the Lending Club blog, I often mention how specialized advice, tailored to your own situation, is much more valuable than the generalized advice we commonly receive. In the case of products and services you buy, the best advice is often included with the product itself, if you simply take the time to look.

Do you read the owner’s manuals for the products you buy?

Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:09 am

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