What Do I Need?
The vehicle’s service manual is the best way to learn how to maintain your vehicle. It was written by the manufacturer that designed and built the vehicle. It only makes sense that they would also know how to best keep everything running properly.
Now, consider the role of the service advisor at your local dealership. This person probably knows a lot about your vehicle, but the service advisor also gets a commission for all the work done on your vehicle. That means if he or she recommends a brake job, for instance, a portion of the payment will go to them.
In another example, the vehicle’s manual may state that the automatic transmission fluid does not have to be changed until 80,000 miles. However, the service advisor claims that it is best to change it as 30,000 miles.
In this instance, who is right?
Consider this: the service advisor gets a commission for all the parts and services he sells, so his opinion is far from unbiased.
New Vehicles Under Warranty
If your vehicle is less than three years old and has less than 36,000 miles, mechanical issues can be fixed under your warranty, free of charge, but this does not cover wear and tear on items like brake pads. Your vehicle will require “routine maintenance” for which you will have to pay. Routine maintenance is usually oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and various inspections. After the duration of your warranty, routine maintenance often comes more involved and costly.
An Overview of Required Maintenance
Vehicle owners usually start to be wary of the need for routine maintenance at certain mileage intervals. These intervals are listed int he the owner’s manual or in your vehicle maintenance section. Changing your oil every 3,000 miles, per recommendation by the quick oil change chains and vehicle dealerships, is often more than twice as often as what is really needed. Also, reference the owner’s manual for proper scheduled vehicle maintenance intervals.
Certain cars will even have a reminder display that says when it needs service, usually an oil change, required at a certain mileage point. Still, other cars will use a “maintenance minder,” which will only become illuminated when the work is actually needed. A computer in the vehicle’s engine makes a calculation based on a number of factors that more accurately determine the time of which oil starts to break down.
Scheduling a Service Visit
You should review your vehicle’s manual to find the real work that is needed at the appropriate mileage interval. Print this out, along with the estimate of costs in our maintenance section. Your service needs are also based on where you live. Auto repairs in San Diego are not the same as the needs for someone who lives in a hotter, dryer climate like Arizona.
In increasing cases, dealership websites contain an e-mail link to the service manager. You can e-mail the service advisor for an appointment and to get a quote for the work you need to be done. This will provide you a chance to look over the charges and compare the quote with other dealerships or independent garages before you commit to using their services.
At the same time, you may want to call multiple dealerships, ask for the service department, and get quotes. Make sure that you get the name of the advisor for future reference. After you have chosen who you are going to take your vehicle to, you can call them back to set a time to bring in your vehicle.
Before you go into the dealership, you should check for recalls and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) that have been issued for your vehicle. Print out any information you may find and give this to the service advisor. A reputable service advisor should clear all recalls and TSBs on your car, but this is not always the case.
At the Dealership
When you get to the dealership, you will probably be welcomed by a greeter. Usually, this person will take the vehicle identification number (VIN) and the vehicle’s mileage on a firm that is then given to the service advisor. Your vehicle will be driven away, so be sure to get your wallet, purse, computer, and anything other valuables. You will then meet with the service advisor.
Many people will often accept any recommendations made by the service advisor. After all, the service advisor is an expert who is acting in your best interest, right?
Well, not always.
It is pretty common for the services that are recommended by the dealer to be very different than the maintenance listed in your vehicle’s manual. In some cases, it may mean you have to spend a lot more.
Saving Money on Service
There are cases where the service advisor will offer service packages including an oil change and other repairs or changes — supposedly at a discount. Usually, there is a saving. However, first, make sure that the package covers only the items listed in your vehicle’s manual and not expensive or unnecessary service items.
It is common for a service advisor to provide a discount or coupon for service. This can lower the price considerably. However, it also can complicate the situation and make it hard to identify the real cost. Be prepared for this and take a moment to calculate the bottom line costs. It is far too easy to just agree to the extra expenses.
You will then be provided an estimate of the charges involved. It should nearly match the costs listed in your vehicle maintenance section. If it does not, you should ask why the charges are higher.
San Diego Automobile Repair Shops
Automobile Repair Shop San Diego is a family-owned and operated auto repair business in San Diego that has been providing the best repair experiences. We will offer you hassle-free auto repairs starting with a precise damage assessment or estimate. We will tow your vehicle for FREE to our shop, organize for a rental car, and work directly with the insurance company to streamline the repair process. We will even pay up to $500 of your deductible. Contact your neighborhood San Diego car repair shop today to see how we can help.