Friday, October 19, 2012

I Just Wanted An Oil Change

Ok, so you take your vehicle in for an oil change and they do a "complimentary" multi-point inspection, now you have a list of services you never knew you needed. Has this happened to you?

I know that there are some shops out there that just do this to make money, but for the most part they're looking out for your best interest. Can you honestly say that you keep track of the last time you changed your antifreeze or your automatic transmission fluid? Do you even know when they should be changed?

In the back of your owner's manual there is a section of maintenance schedules. It will tell you how many miles you can go before needing to change a fluid or replace a belt. I have found that most people never even look at this.

I hear a lot of places telling people to change their oil every 3,000 miles. Well, if your manual says every 7,500, that's when you should do it. We don't need extra waste oil added to our current environmental issues and if the manufacturer recommends those intervals, then that's when you need to do them.  Do your services when they're recommended and not before, unless there is a problem.

So many of you may be thinking, do I really need an alignment or new tires, or are they just trying to get me to spend money? You can always get a second opinion from another shop or ask them to explain why you need it. A trustworthy shop will be happy to explain why your vehicle needs the work.

Once you are sure that a service needs to be done, then there is the cost factor. A great website to check is Repair Pal. By using your zip code you can see what the average cost should be for a repair in your area. This will help you decide if you were given a fair price or not. You can also call around and ask what other shops would charge to do the same repair or service.

If you have a lot of work that needs to be done on your vehicle and you can't afford to do it all at once, then you need to decide which is most critical. A brake job may be more important than a belt replacement if the belt still has some life yet. Ask them to help you categorize your list so that you can do the repairs as you get money for them.

The most important thing is to find a shop you trust. Any shop with a good reputation will be willing to help you rank the most important repairs or services with the understanding that you have a budget to work with.

Ask Patty is another site where you can get your questions answered. Over 40 women in all areas of the automotive industry are available to answer your questions and are happy to help you make the right choices.

So don't get angry if your shop finds work that needs to be done on your vehicle, be a smart consumer and get all the facts. Make sure your vehicle really needs the service according to the maintenance chart, categorize the list from most  to least important and shop around to get the best price. Many times your shop will match the cost of a competitor to keep your business.

The economy is tough right now, but we need our vehicles to run and be safe on the road. With the average age of vehicles on the road being 10 years old, people are doing a lot more maintenance to keep these vehicles in good running condition. Use the resources that are available to you so that you are an informed consumer and can make the best decisions about your vehicle.

1 comment:

  1. The unfortunate truth about car problems is that many of them have multiple causes. That’s why you need to have a TRUSTWORTHY mechanic to ensure that you get honest service. Plus, knowing how to conduct diagnoses and simple repairs is also helpful.

    Michelina Douglass