This week we’re pleased to bring you a helpful guest blog from our friends at MEMBERS AutoChoice!
Proper mechanical maintenance is the single most important thing an owner can do. A well-maintained vehicle will last longer, drive better, and retain its value better than one that has been poorly kept. Maintenance can be expensive, however, and there are literally thousands of options to choose from when picking a place, method, and schedule to maintain your vehicle. So who are you supposed to listen to?
For the earliest stage of a cars life, the “basic warranty” period, a vehicles service should be done regularly at a dealer of that brand. The basic warranty covers all mechanical and electrical issues that may arise, at no cost to you, so having the dealer inspect your vehicle can’t hurt you too badly. That’s not to say that everything is free for you, however, as you are still responsible for basic maintenance, such as: oil and fluid changes, brake pads, tires, etc.
Once your vehicle hits the 36,000 mile mark, or otherwise loses its basic warranty, it’s usually time to find yourself a new mechanic. Service Advisors at dealerships are paid on commission, and trained to upsell you so that they can make the most profit. For example: You take your Toyota Camry with 75,000 miles on it to a Toyota dealer for an oil change. Your service advisor tells you that Toyota recommends that you change all of your belts and fluids at 75,000 miles, and that you need a new alternator. What started out as a $30 job could end up costing you hundreds! This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to service advisors – in fact, it stands to reason that the people trained to work on your specific vehicle will know quite a bit about exactly what it needs; but being an educated buyer means getting second opinions, following the correct schedule, and paying the right prices for the right job.
Once your vehicle is considered “high mileage,” or around 100,000 miles, is when regular service really starts to become important. All of the mechanical components of your vehicle have worked hard, and travelled a long distance. Going 10,000 miles without an oil change at this point in a vehicle’s life is a whole different ball game than doing it in a vehicle that only has 20,000 miles. It is generally recommended to continue taking the vehicle wherever you have normally been for service. Your trusted mechanic generally knows the ins and outs of your vehicle by now, and their computer will more than likely have notes from earlier visits that they can refer back to.
The key to a long lasting, well driving vehicle lies in its mechanical condition. How well you maintain your vehicle can have a huge impact on both you and your wallet. With all the options out there for servicing your vehicle, it can be hard to know when and where to take your vehicle. At the end of the day, however, it’s your choice, but it’s your responsibility to get a second opinion where you feel it’s needed, and to ensure that you are not paying for things that you don’t need. For questions about mechanical service, a service location, or for help with a maintenance schedule, please contact one of our Sales Professionals at www.membersautochoice.com today!