car maintenance ... how to save

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migmarks
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car maintenance ... how to save

Post by migmarks » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:26 pm

Hi Bogleheads,

I have been reading about how many tend to purchase reliable, quality cars and use them for many years until they break down.

For those of you that keep the car for many years, once you get past the routine oil changes and inspections and into the 75k, 90k, 150k territory, how do you maintain the car? I was at the dealership the other day with a 95k mile Honda, and they recommend power steering/brake fluid/coolant/transmission flush, new spark plugs, new hoses, brake service, water pump/timing belt, air filter/cabin filter change, etc for dang near $1000-$1500 territory. Even according to the factory manual recommended schedule, some of these are, in fact, listed as recommended. I was also looking at their list of what they perform at 75k, 100k etc and lots of it involves inspecting this and inspecting that and not much actual replacing/fixing.

Thanks.

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mike143
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by mike143 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:31 pm

Maintenance is either due at set intervals or the maintenance minder system. Dealers will often recommend intervals more frequently, which is a waste of resources (time, money, materials, etc.).

What is the year, model, engine (4 or 6 cylinder), transmission (auto or manual) of the vehicle?
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Topic Author
migmarks
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by migmarks » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:42 pm

mike143 wrote:Maintenance is either due at set intervals or the maintenance minder system. Dealers will often recommend intervals more frequently, which is a waste of resources (time, money, materials, etc.).

What is the year, model, engine (4 or 6 cylinder), transmission (auto or manual) of the vehicle?
Thanks for your response. Its a 2005 Honda Accord 4 cylinder automatic. 100k miles.

I understand dealers (and some independents) recommend more frequent service (notoriously so), but I was wondering which services are, in fact, critical, and since many seem to drive their cars until the wheels fall off, how/where/when the vehicles were maintained.

At least for me, its been difficult to find an independent mechanic that is skilled and trustworthy (how does a layman assess this), and the dealer offers a safety blanket in the sense that they use genuine parts and are the Honda people so they must know what they're doing even though they charge an arm and a leg.

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mike143
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by mike143 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:55 pm

migmarks wrote:Its a 2005 Honda Accord 4 cylinder automatic. 100k miles.
03+ Accord 4 cylinders have a timing chain good for the life of the vehicle, the primary reason I bought a 04. So if they are trying to get you to pay for a timing belt I would run far far away from them. Find a good independent that isn't going to screw you left and right .
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harrychan
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by harrychan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:48 pm

I wouldn't take it to the dealer for any maintenance. Find a trusted garage who is a certified Honda mechanic and have them do the work. They will tell you what is needed and what isn't.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

jlawrence01
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by jlawrence01 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:04 am

Find a local repair shop that YOU trust. They are not hard to find if you start to ask all of your coworkers and friends. When I moved into this area in 2000, I asked a minimum of 50 people and noted that two shops received a minimum of 80% of the responses.

Trusting you mechanic is critical. If you don't, you are more likely to defer the required repairs and on-going maintenance. you will end up paying more in the long run.

Also, realize that the best mechanics are rarely the cheapest. What I generally find is that they are generally pretty reasonable on most repairs but not all of them.

Some dealerships are very expensive; others are quite reasonable. The thing that bothers me is when the dealership does NOT quote a price on a basic repair. Or when they require a lot of expensive diagnosis before they look at your car.

lwfitzge
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by lwfitzge » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:06 am

I have 3 Honda's and love their reliability. I don't love how they push what is a fairly aggressive maintenance schedule on me. For the warrantied cars I go by the maintenance clock and not the the stealership's own pre-set mileage schedule just to stay within factory defined limits for warranty. For my 10 yr 125k mile Pilot, I use my dealer still for the $19.95 oil/filter and multi-point inspection. However, I go a la carte any recommended action and it's an item I know I can get cheaper or want to price to a local garage I decline the service. For example, they pushed new tires on me before they really needed them so I waited another 6 months and when w a low cost tire center. Did the same w front brakes. The funny thing is every time I decline a service I get a 10% coupon in mail for the service to incentivize me doing it there.

livesoft
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:00 am

Here's how we maintain our cars and save: We do nothing to them. It is amazing how well this works and how much money we save by not spending a dime on our car maintenance.

I got an e-mail from the Lexus dealer that asked, "You haven't brought your car in for the past 12 months. If you still have it, we will give you 20% off on labor for any work done on it."

OK, we do some maintenance: We buy batteries when they fail. We change oil every 2 years. We buy tires every 8 years or so. We replace windshield wipers every 5 years after they start squeaking too much. We add wiper fluid when it runs out.

We don't do: Wash car. Wax car. Vacuum out car. Accept most service suggestions from a mechanic. Any radiator fluid flushing.

Here are some examples of suggested services that we have denied: Replace tires. Replace shocks. Replace brakes. Valve job. Replace metal heat shield. Replace ball joints. Replace engine mounts.

When I was growing up, I helped my dad with the family cars including complete engine rebuilds (fun to hold pistons in your hands), brake jobs, differential work, etc. I always had to do the oil and filter changes since when I was about 10 years old.
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likegarden
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by likegarden » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:21 am

I do what the maintenance manuals in the glove compartment of our cars require. I keep track on Excel sheets what we have spent when and where and at which frequency we should replace batteries (preventive maintenance) and fluids. A few weeks ago I went back to a repair shop to have an oil change, and they requested $900 in repairs to be done. So I went to my trusted dealer who only saw the need for a cracked sway bar in front, nothing else, saved $600 right there. I believe that doing the required regular maintenance saves a lot over the years, also keep your cars clean and waxed (by hand).

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jeffyscott
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:04 am

I follow the manufacturer's schedule for the most part. We do not put many miles on though, so after warranty I may stretch the recomended time intervals a bit. For example, one car says change spark plugs at 4 years or 40K miles, 4 years will probably be less than 30,000 miles, so I'll likely go 5-6 years for the second round since it is out of warranty.

I will, however, have transmission, brake, and power steering fluids changed periodically, even when the manufacturer does not specify any changes.

For the OP's car, If power steering/brake fluid/coolant/transmission have never been changed, then I would do it...but I would want to know what they mean by "flush" first.

At 8 years and 100K miles, new spark plugs seem reasonable, as would the timing belt...if it actually had one. I would ask them why they are suggesting that I spend a lot of money changing a timing belt on a car that does not have one.

New hoses, brake service...well if the hoses are bad and the brakes are worn out, then yes.

Air filter should be changed according to manufacturer schedule. Same for cabin filter, IMO, but this has nothing to do with operation of the car, it is so that it does not get smelly inside, so it will cause no problem if not done.
Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy. - John C. Bogle

hectorochoa
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by hectorochoa » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:08 am

There are a lot of Honda forums and youtube videos with Do-It-Yourself instructions, if you have the time and desire to tackle some of these yourself. Like others have said, I believe your car has a timing chain, not a timing belt. The timing chain does not need to be replaced. I would not do the water pump until it goes.

I purchase genuine Honda fluids from a dealership online, Bernardiparts dot com. I think they are in Massachusetts. Using genuine Honda fluids is hotly debated, and I don't want to get into that here. I choose to use Honda stuff. If others choose not to in order to save a few bucks, fine.

Power steering fluid - pretty easy DIY. Change it every 3-5 years. If you never changed it, you'd probably be o.k.
Brake fluid - very easy DIY. Change it every 3-5 years. If you never changed it, you'd probably be o.k.
Coolant - you may want to take this to the dealer mainly because of disposal/recycling issues. I can't find a place to take used coolant in my area. Replace at 105,000 miles or whatever your manual says.
Transmission - this is easier than changing your oil. Changing it 3 times in a month or a year has about the same effect as a complete flush. I change mine at every other oil change and never worry about a flush. My 2007 Accord takes exactly 2.75 quarts, which costs about $15 because I buy the Honda fluid by the case.
Oil - I use Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5w-20 that is guaranteed to last 15,000 miles and a genuine Honda filter. Change my oil once each year or 15,000 miles - whichever comes first.
Spark plugs - easy to do yourself. Do this at 105,000 miles or whatever your manual says.
Hoses - inspect and replace only if needed. Probably not necessary for your car.
Brakes - pads are cheap so replace before the rotor gets warped. Warped rotors are where it gets expensive. A set of brake pads (front or rear) can be done by a shop for $100.
Air filter - $12 and three minutes. Replace every year or two.
Rotate your tires more often. I do it every 5,000 - 7,000 miles or so.

Others have given good advice which I would also suggest....find a good local mechanic that you trust. Do not let this shop that thinks your car has a timing belt touch your car.

jeff1949
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by jeff1949 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:18 am

livesoft wrote: We don't do: Wash car. Wax car. Vacuum out car.
Yikes! Now that IS cheap, lol. :shock:

Most of the other stuff I agree with, BTW.

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mojave
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by mojave » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:02 am

We're also a couple that never brings in our cars. My husband has an 06 Dodge truck that has seen a repair garage maybe three times, one of which was to get new tires. Knock on wood, his truck has had zero problems in its lifetime and it is at 150k now. My Hyundai hasn't seen a mechanic in almost 4 years but now that my car is at 92k I'm thinking about taking it in just for peace of mind. All we've done is basic maintenance except for getting my timing belt changed, which my husband and his Hyundai mechanic friend did along with the expensive 60k updates. Filter replacements, brake changes, etc all are done by my husband.

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Frugal Al
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Frugal Al » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:06 am

livesoft wrote: OK, we do some maintenance: We buy batteries when they fail. We change oil every 2 years. We buy tires every 8 years or so. We replace windshield wipers every 5 years after they start squeaking too much. We add wiper fluid when it runs out.
You didn't say how many miles you drive, livesoft. If you drive few miles you can get away with a minimum of maintenance. Still, unless the oil is synthetic, 2 years is definitely pushing it on dino oil even with low miles.

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Aptenodytes
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Aptenodytes » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:11 am

Frugal Al wrote:
livesoft wrote: OK, we do some maintenance: We buy batteries when they fail. We change oil every 2 years. We buy tires every 8 years or so. We replace windshield wipers every 5 years after they start squeaking too much. We add wiper fluid when it runs out.
You didn't say how many miles you drive, livesoft. If you drive few miles you can get away with a minimum of maintenance. Still, unless the oil is synthetic, 2 years is definitely pushing it on dino oil even with low miles.
Don't break pads wear out?

jlawrence01
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by jlawrence01 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:23 pm

I get so TIRED of the "stealership" moniker. Most of the smart dealerships are very competitive with the local shops. For example, the Toyota dealership charges me $2 more for an oil change than the local independent. However, the dealership offers the following: free car wash, free coffee, free wifi, free cable, and loaner cars if the car will be in the shop more than two or three hours. It seems like a deal to me.

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frugalhen
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by frugalhen » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:04 pm

I am amazed at some of the advice here, like doing zero preventative maintenance.

The most important things to do are these:

Follow the owners manual for major maintenance
Change oil at 10k with a good full synthetic oil or 7500 miles if you drive it hard
Drain and fill tranny oil every 30k
Change timing belt and water pump at 100k unless it has a chain
If you live in an area that uses road salt, wash the car through a wash with undercarriage wash every month or two in the winter



Your car will last 200-300k miles
"get out and live, you are dead an awfully long time" - Jimmy Demaret

livesoft
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:08 pm

Aptenodytes wrote:
Frugal Al wrote:
livesoft wrote: OK, we do some maintenance: We buy batteries when they fail. We change oil every 2 years. We buy tires every 8 years or so. We replace windshield wipers every 5 years after they start squeaking too much. We add wiper fluid when it runs out.
You didn't say how many miles you drive, livesoft. If you drive few miles you can get away with a minimum of maintenance. Still, unless the oil is synthetic, 2 years is definitely pushing it on dino oil even with low miles.
Don't break pads wear out?
Yes, brake pads wear out, but change them because of wear and not because of mileage.

My car is 13 years old. I have put about 70K miles on it in that time and much of the 70K is easy coasting miles.

Our previous 2 cars averaged 200K miles before we traded them in.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Drewman
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Drewman » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:16 pm

My father worked on our cars and I was his gopher ( go get me this wrench, go get me some tea, etc...)

Thankfully I learned a few things. Oil - I buy bulk generic oil as long as it's SAE certified and the cheapest filters. I change mine every 5k miles or 6 months whichever comes first. i check the level about ever 2 weeks (are cars are old!)

all the other maintenance I pretty much wait till it breaks or needs changed. i do however, wash, vacuum and armor all the dash (i like a shiny dash that isn't sun damaged).

GET A FACTORY SHOP MANUAL - this shows you step by step directions on how to do EVERYTHING. often you can find them for FREE on the internet. google it.


find a friend - Hey Bob, can you show me how to change my oil. Can you show me how to change my brake pads...oh wow that was really easy. Here I'll pay you with lunch.

2001 Lexus RX with 140k miles - snow and trips <20 miles, occasional 30 minutes on the interstate every other week to keep it fresh.
2000 Infiniti G20t 240k miles - all trips >20 miles and bulk of daily driving

livesoft
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:18 pm

Drewman wrote:My father worked on our cars and I was his gopher ( go get me this wrench, go get me some tea, etc...)

Thankfully I learned a few things. ....
Yep, it seems it's the best place and time to learn cuss words.
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jeff1949
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by jeff1949 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:42 pm

livesoft wrote: Yep, it seems it's the best place and time to learn cuss words.
+1 My dad owned and operated a Chevron Service Station. Don't get me started. 8-)

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migmarks
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by migmarks » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:53 pm

To be fair, the person at the dealership, after showing me their recommended list of things that needed to be done, did mention my timing belt was a chain and did not need to be replaced.

She did, however, recommend that the coolant tubes should be changed @110k as they can wear out and leak. The quote was for $600.

Looks like the fluid changes (oil, power steering, brake, coolant, and transmission) could be performed on the cheap with a knowledgeable friend/google (I hope). Have changed the air filter on my own before for $15.

The person at the dealership recommended a compete flush of the coolant, power steering etc. as opposed to a drain and fill, explaining that a simple drain and fill is not as effective. Is this true or is it something that really doesn't make a big difference?

Looks like brake pads, spark plugs, and water pump might be the ones that I would need to consider. How much should spark plugs and water pump cost (ballpark)?

Thanks everyone for the informative posts. Definitely different from the days I used to lease and re-lease.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:04 pm

If your car is a 4 cylinder - the OEM mfg is NGK's and you can either get them from the dealer or from an auto parts shop, might cost $20-$30.
Water pump is $80-$100 for the pump, $4 for the seals and a gallon or two of Genuine Honda Antifreeze - about $20-$25 a gallon (use Honda brand only because the typical antifreeze you find in an auto parts store will wear out your radiator components faster). Labor is extra - figure 2 hours labor.

Use Honda Power Steering Fluid - it's specially designed for Honda vehicles, the after market fluids are not compatible.

Honda Transmission - is factory sealed, all you need to do is drain old fluid and pour in new fluid.
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02sbxstr
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by 02sbxstr » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:42 pm

livesoft wrote: We don't do: Wash car. Wax car. Vacuum out car. Accept most service suggestions from a mechanic. Any radiator fluid flushing.

Here are some examples of suggested services that we have denied: Replace tires. Replace shocks. Replace brakes. Valve job. Replace metal heat shield. Replace ball joints. Replace engine mounts.
Okay, I hope you have a strobe light on your roof to warn nearby motorists they are in proximity to a potentially UNSAFE vehicle. All of the services that you mention you've denied are safety issues that could very well impact innocent motorists. How inconsiderate and irresponsible of you! Do you also save money by not adequately insuring yourself? Being frugal by patronizing independent shops is one, being cheap is another. My 2 cents.

livesoft
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:43 pm

Hey, my car passes the annual inspection with flying colors.

Also, this thread is about "how to save" and not how to have the best maintained car.
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Toons
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Toons » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:47 pm

jeff1949 wrote:
livesoft wrote: We don't do: Wash car. Wax car. Vacuum out car.
Yikes! Now that IS cheap, lol. :shock:

Most of the other stuff I agree with, BTW.
Have been washing ,waxing,vacuum(ing) my cars for decades,Just like to see them clean :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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jeffyscott
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:37 pm

migmarks wrote:The person at the dealership recommended a compete flush of the coolant, power steering etc. as opposed to a drain and fill, explaining that a simple drain and fill is not as effective. Is this true or is it something that really doesn't make a big difference?
For coolant I would want a complete flush, for brake fluid I think a change is always a complete "flush", for PS I had flush when trying to fix a problem but just did a drain and refill for maintenance. For transmissions, opinions vary but I would just want to be sure that "flush" really just means a complete fluid change, a normal change is about 1/3 of the fluid.

For my Mazda, I just did a normal change but for my wife's VW, a very fussy mechanic prefers a complete flush and this actually costs less because of the design of that trans.
Looks like brake pads, spark plugs, and water pump might be the ones that I would need to consider. How much should spark plugs and water pump cost (ballpark)
I'd expect maybe $100 or so to have someone change the plugs on a 4 cyl?

Is there a problem with the water pump? The water pump may have just been included when they thought they would be changing a timing belt, this is often done when that belt is changed.
Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy. - John C. Bogle

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ClevrChico
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:42 pm

If you can DIY, DIY.

If you can't, ask some friends on a recommendation for an independent shop. Avoid chains and dealers - this is a good way to have a perpetually broken car and no money.

likegarden
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by likegarden » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:05 pm

Washing a car inside and outside, vacuuming inside and waxing is good exercise for you. My mother taught me to be clean!

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Ged
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Ged » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:21 pm

livesoft wrote:Hey, my car passes the annual inspection with flying colors.
I routinely turn down a lot of service too, nothing wrong with that IF you know what you are doing. Many of the things that a dealer offers are easy to DIY. I mean wiper blades, spark plugs and air filters? Give me a break. I would never buy tires from dealer. That's a very competitive business and usually you can do a lot better than what the dealer offers.

However I do take my cars into a dealer once a year for an oil change. The reason is to give them a chance to run an inspection and offer their opinion as to what should be done. Maybe they will catch something.

In NJ now that inspection is just an emissions test. Passing is mostly about plugging their computer into the one on your car and getting no codes.

As far as cleaning the car, there is a car wash down the road that I bring it to twice a year. They do a pretty good job for $15.

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Mister Whale
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Mister Whale » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:23 pm

hectorochoa wrote:There are a lot of Honda forums and youtube videos with Do-It-Yourself instructions, if you have the time and desire to tackle some of these yourself. Like others have said, I believe your car has a timing chain, not a timing belt. The timing chain does not need to be replaced. I would not do the water pump until it goes.

I purchase genuine Honda fluids from a dealership online, Bernardiparts dot com. I think they are in Massachusetts. Using genuine Honda fluids is hotly debated, and I don't want to get into that here. I choose to use Honda stuff. If others choose not to in order to save a few bucks, fine.

Power steering fluid - pretty easy DIY. Change it every 3-5 years. If you never changed it, you'd probably be o.k.
Brake fluid - very easy DIY. Change it every 3-5 years. If you never changed it, you'd probably be o.k.
Coolant - you may want to take this to the dealer mainly because of disposal/recycling issues. I can't find a place to take used coolant in my area. Replace at 105,000 miles or whatever your manual says.
Transmission - this is easier than changing your oil. Changing it 3 times in a month or a year has about the same effect as a complete flush. I change mine at every other oil change and never worry about a flush. My 2007 Accord takes exactly 2.75 quarts, which costs about $15 because I buy the Honda fluid by the case.
Oil - I use Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5w-20 that is guaranteed to last 15,000 miles and a genuine Honda filter. Change my oil once each year or 15,000 miles - whichever comes first.
Spark plugs - easy to do yourself. Do this at 105,000 miles or whatever your manual says.
Hoses - inspect and replace only if needed. Probably not necessary for your car.
Brakes - pads are cheap so replace before the rotor gets warped. Warped rotors are where it gets expensive. A set of brake pads (front or rear) can be done by a shop for $100.
Air filter - $12 and three minutes. Replace every year or two.
Rotate your tires more often. I do it every 5,000 - 7,000 miles or so.

Others have given good advice which I would also suggest....find a good local mechanic that you trust. Do not let this shop that thinks your car has a timing belt touch your car.
I too do all of the above including purchasing Honda factory fluids and parts from Bernardi. Hondas are pretty easy to change fluids on. Best place to take coolant in my area is to the JiffyLube, where they dump it down the drain (NOT a storm drain, rather they dump it down a sink which is legal in many areas). Good point about PS fluid which most folks never change; I change the fluid in the reservior at each oil change myself (see next paragraph).

A few special tools make the work easier, like this fluid extractor tool: http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/mul ... tractor.do I've owned mine for well over 10 years. Makes quick work of brake fluid, PS fluid, and transmission fluid changes/flushes.
" ... advice is most useful and at its best, not when it is telling you what to do, but when it is illuminating aspects of the situation you hadn't thought about." --nisiprius

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Ged
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Ged » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:19 pm

Ethylene glycol is highly biodegradable. There is no reason to believe that a waste treatment plant will not do a great job at decomposing it in reasonable quantities.

The caveat in this is that antifreeze will pick up metal contamination, and the corrosion additives may be environmentally harmful. Waste treatment plants have some capability depending on their designs to handle these issues. However they vary in this regard. This is why some places require recycling of antifreeze while others do not.

JoeJohnson
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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by JoeJohnson » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:49 am

frugalhen wrote: Drain and fill tranny oil every 30k
depends on the car, tranny fluid technology is improving

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Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by eharri3 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:15 pm

When a vehicle is in warranty I go to the dealership. When I go to the dealership I don't ask for the 30 or 60 or 70 thousand mile service. I say I want my oil and filter changed and tires rotated. This is because I don't want to pay a bunch of extra money for them to look at things they couldn't help but notice anyway while my hood is open and the car is on the lift. And in the past even when I did get suckered into paying for all the junk dealership services departments want to cram in there, they tended to miss alot of problems. So even when you do pay for it, they dont' catch things they're supposed to catch half the time.

A dirty little secret dealership service techs won't tell you is in alot of those places (MANY, BUT NOT ALL) they try not to notice covered issues until the warranty is up. They get paid alot more when you pay than when the manufacturer pays. So there is a very good chance all those 'inspections' and 'checks' you pay for won't uncover problems until you have to pay out of pocket to fix them.

In general I know about how often my vehicles need everything. I change transmission fluid and coolant about every 5 years or 50K. Brake fluid every 2-3 years. Oil changes every 5K or 6 months, whichever comes first.

After I am out of warranty I like to buy parts myself and take them to a mechanic who will only charge me for labor. When you buy parts through the mechanic he just gets them from the closest auto parts store or dealership anyway and then charges you a hefty mark-up.

When my brakes go, I don't replace them with factory stuff. EVER. I find factory pads and disks for trucks just don't hold up over time nowadays. I spend a little more THE FIRST TIME I swap everything out to get aftermarket stuff that'll hold up for a few years. In the long run it is cheaper than paying for cheap crappy factory pads and rotors that have me back in for brake work once per year.

Woodshark
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by Woodshark » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:33 pm

I don't think you HAVE to do all the scheduled stuff. I have a 1998 Plymouth mini-van with only 140,000 miles on it. I've done regular oil, transmission fluid changes and a lot of the scheduled maintenance but I've never touched the brake or power transmission fluid. I check the fluids regularly and they are still clear, not cloudy and the systems work fine. Heck, I'm still on the original rear brake pads.

It being a late 90's "American" auto I've been truly surprised on how dependable it has been. (It does have a Mitsubishi engine) It's still my everyday driver and worth more to me than I could ever get for it on the used market. Still, I do think there is going to be a used 2011 G37 in my driveway in the next 6 to 8 months. :D

JoeJohnson
Posts: 408
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:34 pm

Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by JoeJohnson » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:30 pm

Anecdotal evidence in this thread is amazing!

snowman
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by snowman » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:28 pm

Lots of good advise in this thread. Try DIY, it's not that hard, and Honda cars are easy to work on. That's how you save on car maintenance.

If you learn how to change oil, you will know how to change transmission fluid (much easier), spark plugs, brakes, etc. You will be buying really good parts when on sale, instead of paying dealership for overpriced parts and labor. You will have them sitting in your garage (or basement) and you will change stuff on time (or sooner if you wish). You will be amazed how much money you are saving, and you will get better parts and make sure the work is done to your complete satisfaction because you care about your car. Your car will thank you by continuing to run like new.

Some specifics:

Honda does not recommend transmission flush, just a drain and fill. You can do that as often as you like, really easy. Use Honda fluid only.

Spark plugs - NGK or Denso - are $7 each at AAP with coupon, so $28 total. Dealer will charge you that much for each, plus labor.

Brake fluid - every 3 years, independent of mileage.

Engine oil - 5K miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. I use synthetic, but dino is fine. Less than $20.

Air filter - once a year ($17).

Cabin air filter - once a year, sometimes twice, depends on amount of dust. Kind of similar to your furnace filter ($10).

You could do all of the above for less than $100. You don't need to do it all at once, just keep a spreadsheet with mileage and date info, and replace as needed. It's cheap, easy, and fun. The only time I will go to a dealership is for recall, nothing else.

One more thing - brakes. If you like them, fine. If they need replacement because of wear, or you have vibration due to warped rotors, get good, non-OEM rotors and pads, they will last you much longer than OEM, will perform as good or better, with less dust, at a lower price.

If you absolutely refuse DIY, find a good local shop. You will not be saving that much, but at least you will get good quality work at a reasonable price.

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bottlecap
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Location: Tennessee

Re: car maintenance ... how to save

Post by bottlecap » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:44 pm

jlawrence01 wrote:I get so TIRED of the "stealership" moniker. Most of the smart dealerships are very competitive with the local shops. For example, the Toyota dealership charges me $2 more for an oil change than the local independent. However, the dealership offers the following: free car wash, free coffee, free wifi, free cable, and loaner cars if the car will be in the shop more than two or three hours. It seems like a deal to me.
The oil change at dealerships is a loss leader to get you in the door. Do you really think all of that "free" stuff gets paid for by an extra $2 charge for an oil change? Dealers, even if honest, have to charge more to pay for all the overhead. My mechanic takes a look at my truck for free. He searches junk yards (online) for used parts. He even had his brother drive him around while he was in the back listening for a noise I could hear. He refused to charge me and told me to come back when it got louder so that he could eliminate possibilities and avoid unnecessary repairs. I felt guilty, but he got a lot of work when I took it back a few months later!

There are a few honest dealerships, but they simply have to charge significantly more to survive.

JT

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