Have you heard the saying, "Good. Fast. Cheap. Any two, but never all three"? Well, in my opinion, this is true. Nowadays there is no such thing as an "oil change". To care for your car, you should consider a 5,000-mile or 4 to 6-month service (whichever occurs first). I know many of you are saying, "but I'm not driving my car as much". Hear me out.
Most vehicle manufacturers state that oil services should be performed every 5,000, 7,500, or 10,000 miles. Have you ever asked yourself why in recent years that has changed? It was standard to have your car serviced every 3-4 months or every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Well, I did my research! I found that the main reason for the change was to meet JD Powers' service standard requirements. In doing so, this brings down the cost-to-own and makes the vehicle more appealing to you, the consumer. What they neglect to advertise is that engine oil, as with any other lubricant, breaks down over time. When oil circulates through the engine, the oil breaks down. A vehicle that sits or is not driven often, has issues with oil contamination. Think about the car that sits a lot. More than likely when it is driven, it is to go to the grocery store or run a quick errand. This type of driving does not allow the engine to reach the proper operating temperature. This causes the engine to run richer than normal because it is not fully warmed up. That rich condition along with oil contamination or dilution from condensation creates an environment that may cause internal engine damage. I want to be sure that you have the tools you need to make your car last. Growing up in the automotive industry, I have seen a lot of change. I want to share some of the things that I have been seeing in recent years.
-An engine making noise due to being 5 and a half quarts low on fluid due to a missing oil filter seal.
-Leaking drain plugs.
-Leaking oil filters.
-Excessive oil sludge.
-Check engine lights due to lack of lubrication.
-Sticking actuators or sensors.
Of course, we all know mistakes happen and these things are not all due to a "quick lube". It is my goal to stress the importance of having a professional perform a proper "service" twice a year.
How do you get the best service possible? Do your research. Find a garage that you trust and are willing to create a relationship with. Think of them as your car doctor. When you make an appointment for service, be sure to allow them ample time. There are reasons oil and filter services are taking longer. Your vehicle is receiving more than oil and a filter. Expect your vehicle to be at the facility for 3-4 hours. To provide the very best service, there are necessary inspections. There are many possible oil and fluid requirements. The top repair facilities will use quality parts and provide you with a health check.
Most repair shops strive to provide you with a comfortable experience. We know that taking your car in for service is not "fun". There are things to consider to make your visit easier. Communication is key. If there are any concerns about the vehicle mention them to your advisor. They want to make sure that you are happy with your car. Here are a few questions to ask to help with your service experience:
-What time should I expect my car to be ready?
-What time should I receive a call to go over my inspection results?
-What levels of services/inspections are available?
-Are there any additives that I should be using? (Engine additives are amazing for today's vehicles.)
-Is there a shuttle as a form of transportation?
-What is nearby in case a form of transportation is not available?
Once you have found your car people there's an important question to ask yourself. Is my vehicle worth investing in to make it last as long as possible? If the answer is yes, keep on reading! This article is perfect for you. If the answer is no, you may be looking to buy another vehicle. If you are, it's a good idea to keep reading to be sure and get the most out of your next car.
So what else is included in a service?
A wise man once asked me, why change your engine oil if you never change any of the other fluids? This was eye-opening. There are so many systems in cars that the fluid is never or rarely changed throughout the life of the vehicle. Take into consideration...
The number of transmissions that are never serviced.
The number of differentials that are never serviced.
The number of cooling systems that are never serviced.
The number of power steering systems that are never serviced.
The cars and trucks that are not maintained are sure to have mechanical failure earlier on. Think of the thousands of dollars saved when the vehicle receives a proper service. It's a good idea to put together a maintenance plan so that you aren't blindsided by a mechanical breakdown caused by a lack of service.
In conclusion, my goal is to help you to get the biggest bang for your buck! All vehicles, new or used, are expensive to replace. Take care of your car and it will take care of you. Plan to visit your garage every 4 to 6 months for a check-up (service). You will be enjoying your car for years and years (and save money long term)! Happy driving!