As a conscientious car owner who wants to keep your vehicle serviced and running smoothly, the following may have happened to you:
You drive into your local quick lube for an oil change. The service manager comes out with a long list of other services he says your car needs. These include a power steering flush, fuel injection flush, coolant flush and a myriad of flushes you’ve never heard of before. The manager acts concerned and pushes for the work to be done on your car while you’re in for your oil change. What should you do?
For many car owners, this is a confusing situation. However, flushing all the bad stuff out of your car sounds reasonable. After all, what can be the harm? It’s all good, right?
Actually, the opposite could be true. Unless the work is really needed and then performed to manufacturer’s specifications by a certified auto technician, you could be damaging your vehicle and may even void your warranty.
One of the major benefits of using a full service auto repair shop like BA Auto Repair is our knowledge of what services your car needs, when to perform these services, and the skills to meet or exceed your car manufacturer’s specifications when performing the services.
At BA Auto Care, we go by the book – a comprehensive book of over 200 service and maintenance items with detailed instructions on how to get them all done right. This comprehensive Job Description Guide represents our decades of experience servicing and repairing all makes and models of vehicles.
Knowing what a vehicle needs is complex and to give our customers accurate recommendations we rely on many factors.
Here are ten important things for you to consider before you approve a service on your vehicle:
- The observations of a certified auto technician
- Downloaded data from your vehicle’s onboard computers
- Your vehicle’s service history
- Type of driving you do (city or highway)
- Manufacturer’s recommendations
- Average miles driven in a year
- Current service bulletin updates
- Known issues with your vehicle (pattern failures)
- Car fax information
- Setting Service Priorities: Safety • Reliability • Predictive • Prevention
In number 10, you may be wondering why preventive maintenance is listed in fourth place. This is because preventive maintenance can and should be performed on a set timetable. At BA Auto, we set up preventive maintenance plans for most of our customers. Safety is listed first because these are items that must be done as soon as possible.
It is very frustrating for our service writers when a new customer comes in for a needed safety repair, only to find that their funds are restricted because they have spent their car allowance on prevention items that could have waited.
At BA Auto Care, we have a proven system of evaluating vehicles that allows us to recommend a “Preventive Maintenance Plan” that is right for your car. This is why we say that we are "Looking out for you and your car."
Here are four common service and repair items we perform following a Preventive Maintenance Service that includes an oil and filter change.
- Replace engine air filter element, clean air filter housing.
This filter is replaced every 15,000 miles depending on your car’s operating conditions. Dusty conditions can block the air filter and increase miles per gallon. The service only takes from 5-10 minutes up to 30 minutes on some models. A good quality air filter element costs around $20 but can cost up to $50. Some manufacturers installed air filters that last 50,000 miles, and these are more expensive.
- Replace cabin filter.
This filter cleans the air coming into the interior of the vehicle. This filter is replaced every 15,000 miles depending on your operating conditions. Also, if you have pets in the car, the fur can block and filter and require more frequent replacement. A good quality cabin filter element costs around $20 but can cost up to $50. There special filters that can be installed that help with allergies and filter out pollen. It can take from 10 -30 minutes to replace the filter and clean the air intake duct.
- Engine Coolant replacement.
This Service is performed every 3-5 years depending on type of fluid. It’s only performed on a cooling system that’s in good condition. If your cooling system is rusty and in poor condition, this service could be a waste of money or could even cause other problems. In addition, our car’s hoses, water pump and radiator should also be in good condition for this service to be effective. The process includes adding flush fluid and hooking up your vehicle to a flush machine, run until hot with heater operating. The expansion tank is cleaned and topped up to correct level. Testing the system after the service is performed is vital and should include checking to make sure that the cooling fan is cycling, checking for leaks, followed by road testing and a final level check. The cost for this service varies by vehicle and takes an average of one hour of labor plus the cost of flush fluid and anti-freeze. It’s critical that the fluid is changed before it loses its protectiveness.
- Automatic Transmission fluid and filter changes.
This service requires the removal of the transmission pan and the installation of a new gasket. If any metal or band material is found in the transmission it should be reported because it could be a sign of a serious transmission problem. This service also includes changing the transmission fluid. On some vehicles, the only option is to replace the transmission fluid. Replacing the fluid at regular intervals before it breaks down and becomes dirty is critical for a long lasting transmission. The cost of the fluid change can be under $100 but a full service with the filter change starts around $300. This service is always a good investment because it can save you the thousands of dollars it cost to replace a transmission.
In my next blog, I’m going to cover the next four common services we perform on vehicles: power steering flush, spark plug replacement, front and rear differential oil changes.