Unless your vehicle is brand new or still under warranty, it is likely that you will need some auto maintenance within the year. This could range from minor work, like an oil change, to more serious repairs.
Most auto technicians — independent or employed by a dealer or repair shop — are ethical people who will not try to steer you toward unneeded work, but they may suggest that you hire them to perform maintenance that may not be required.
They will sound convincing enough. Why would you want to wait for a small issue to worsen?
However, it is your money, and you should know about what your mechanic may never want to tell you.
There are some mechanics that are honest and upfront about what absolutely should be done to fix-up a car, as well as about what could wait or be ignored. However, these types of mechanics are few and far between.
These are some tips about what a skilled mechanic may not tell you.
You Can Change Your Oil on Your Own
To a skilled mechanic, an oil change is like what making brunch omelets is for a talented chef. It is a bit of an insult. With that being said, oil changes are the most common maintenance required for vehicles. You can buy an oil-change kit at an auto-parts store for less than $40 while having a technician do it for you can cost you nearly $75.
Oil changes are easy money for repair shops and dealers. Not only will they steer you toward them, but they will also suggest that you get one at the standard 3,000 miles, even though modern engine oil can last for a much longer time, with some synthetics requiring a change over 10,000 to 20,000 miles.
You can follow a more strict schedule, and honestly, frequent oil changes in some cars can help your resale value later on, as some buyers will want records to make sure the previous owner took care of the car.
However, if you do not mind getting dirty and having to deal with disposing of used oil, an oil change twice a year is a standard.
Unless It Is Flashing, You Can Probably Ignore Your Check Engine Light
The check engine light is known to strike fear into the hearts of inexperienced car owners. However, it usually just indicates a non-serious issue with the car’s exhaust system.
In a lot of cases, you can just ignore it, unless you have a very old vehicle with worn-out emission components.
You cannot ignore it forever, though. A quick trip to the mechanic is needed at some point, but your car is not going to fail you while you wait.
However, there is one exception to this. If the check engine light is flashing, you should have a mechanic take a look as soon as possible.
Maybe You Should Do Your Own Brake Job
After you start changing your own oil, you may think about doing your own brake jobs. This is one that mechanics do not usually like to talk about because changing brake pads and rotors is the same as printing money for these shops. It is easy to do, but it can take some time, meaning that the labor costs can rack up fast.
You can do this type of work yourself, but it can be a bit tricky. It can be downright exhausting if you do not have the hydraulic lift they do at the shop. With just a jack, it will take a regular consumer several hours, and that is if you do not run into any issues and are only dealing with swapping worn brake pads.
But, if you do it once, you may find yourself doing it on your own forever.
You Can Probably Buff It Out Yourself
This one is less about the mechanic and more so about the repair shop. Have you ever been to a great auto body repair shop? While vehicle repair shops can be glorified grease pits, body shops are usually temples of organization and cleanliness. That is because just walking in the door will usually cost you around a thousand dollars.
There have been cases of people buying old cars with a few dents and having it taken into a body shop to fix. A repair like this can cost as much as $1,200. It can be much cheaper for you to just fix dents and touch-up scratches on your own.
You do not have to have professional-grade work done. It may not be the same, but the results will be decent. If you are still unhappy with it, your San Diego auto mechanic will be more than happy to help you out.
In Some Cases, Buying a New Car Is Your Best Option
The fact of the matter is that there are times when a new vehicle is probably your best choice. If you are looking for three to five trouble-free years, are wanting the latest tech, or just have the resources to follow through, you should consider getting a new car.
There is not much that can go wrong with a new vehicle, and if anything does, the dealer will usually be able to fix it under warranty.
Experienced auto technicians hate this because they want you to buy a good used vehicle and have them fix it up. This is just part of the business, but there is also some pride in the trade.
San Diego Auto Repair Shops
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