How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

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mookie
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How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by mookie » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:08 am

Hi, I'd like to hear how people handle auto repair/maintenance? I used to take my car to several different auto mechanic/repair shops for oil changes, but it seemed like at every oil change, they were recommending further repairs/maintenance that did not follow the schedule in the owner's manual. I am not interested in learning to DIY. My current approach is:
--Jiffy Lube for oil change and routine maintenance as recommended in owner's manual
--Costco for tires and tire rotations
--Pep Boys for all other issues

edge
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by edge » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:28 am

Jiffy Lube is a nightmare. Lots of fraud involving unneeded service recommendations that they didn't even complete. I've also found that their service is more expensive than the dealer (even expensive luxury dealers) for oil changes.

I normally take the car to the dealer while under warranty. I don't hold on to cars much beyond the warranty period.

stoptothink
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by stoptothink » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:32 am

After much asking around, we were lucky to find a local shop that is really honest. Not the cheapest around, but always does the job right and he'll tell you what doesn't need to be done and how I can save on parts. I've recommended a few family members and friends to the same shop; no complaints. An honest mechanic is almost priceless.

tim1999
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by tim1999 » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:38 am

I found a local dealer where the routine maintenance is reasonably priced and they almost never try to upsell.

fundseeker
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by fundseeker » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:41 am

edge wrote:I don't hold on to cars much beyond the warranty period.
That is an expensive habit, trading that often. If someone does that out of concerns about reliability and repair costs, it is really not justified since today's cars are just so much more reliable than they used to be and easily go 100k miles without problems. But, if you can afford trading that often, it might be fun to get the latest models.

livesoft
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by livesoft » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:46 am

My neighbor owns a goodyear franchise which is very close by, so I make my kids take my cars there for oil changes and inspections. I buy cars that don't need maintenance or I ignore the suggested maintenance schedule.
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barnaclebob
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by barnaclebob » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:48 am

Changing oil is so simple it's easy to rationalize that any kid with 1 hour of training should be able to do it without messing up and hence jiffy lube should be ok. However there are too many stories about forgetting to fill, over filling, putting the oil in the transmission to fully trust them. I recommend everyone at least check the oil level after a change and visually inspect that a new filter has been put on if you can see it.

If you want to not get ripped off on periodic maintenance you need to know the recommended intervals, the signs that something needs to be done, and the procedure to do it so you can tell if the price is reasonable. A good shop should explain the procedure if you ask. You may be told something like your brake pads have 2mm left and that sounds really low but depending on your car that may be 5 or 10 k miles left...

My local midas has never tried to upsell me on uneeded maintenance before I went diy fwiw. I'm sure there are midas horror stories but I just haven't experienced them.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

dbr
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by dbr » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:50 am

I go around the corner to a really good garage that I trust. I am completely pleased with them. I know another garage in town that I would use without hesitation but they are a few miles drive away.

If you don't have the luxury of people like that being available then life gets hard in a hurry.

I also recently purchased a new car and used the dealer for first service free. There was also a minor recall that needed attention. They have been outstanding as well, but are also some miles away.

How much one might spend on optional/preventive maintenance is a judgement call. I would rather have a mechanic who tells me when they find things than someone who knowingly leaves problems unattended. It is also true that some places sell people unneeded work. The mechanics I use have always been completely straight about this.

fundseeker
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by fundseeker » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:52 am

I know you don't want to be a DIYer, and most people aren't but they at least ought to know enough to not be at the mercy of any dealer or repair shop. I hate to think of all of the rip offs that occur and wish there was a way I could stop it. One example was a shop someone I know uses and they were told they needed new fuel injectors in the low mileage Lexus. Chances are it may have just needed fuel injector cleaner. Plus, after that expensive repair, the new off brand injectors kept messing up. What a rip off by that shop!

So, if people would read their owners manuals and just do that maintenance (not the bogus schedule the local dealer makes up to double the maintenance), they should be okay. As for repairs out of warranty, get second opinions. Also, some things just don't have to be fixed, like if you have a 150k mile SUV and the CV axle boots are seeping grease, it does not mean you need a $600 repair job.

And brakes, that is where they really get you. They recommend brake jobs way too early, and then they want to turn your rotors, which makes them thinner so that the next time, they can sell you new rotors too! Gosh!

I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

fundseeker
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by fundseeker » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:53 am

dbr wrote:I would rather have a mechanic who tells me when they find things than someone who knowingly leaves problems unattended.
Not sure that is a very common problem.

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Bengineer
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Bengineer » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:58 am

stoptothink wrote:After much asking around, we were lucky to find a local shop that is really honest. Not the cheapest around, but always does the job right and he'll tell you what doesn't need to be done and how I can save on parts. I've recommended a few family members and friends to the same shop; no complaints. An honest mechanic is almost priceless.
Agreed! I think they are priceless. Once you've developed a relationship on the oil changes, brake jobs and other minor stuff, you'll be able to trust the quote for a timing belt or water pump when they come along. OP, you're not interested in DIY, but you can fairly easily look up parts like brake rotors and pads for your car to gauge the brand and markup at your mechanic.

To find one, ask around of people with older cars of the same maker group as your (i.e. japanese, german) and go try them for an oil & filter change and gauge the experience. Keep going till you find one you really like and trust.

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by cfs » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:03 am

Dealers

I have always taken my truck to the dealer where I deal with another military retiree that I have known for years. I was there two days ago for lube oil change and inspection, the only recommendation was to take it to a tire repair center (to remove the invisible nail they found) and to order 4 new tires (nail issue corrected, four new tires pending tire sales at the military store where I buy them at a good discount).

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canderson
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by canderson » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:07 am

We take our Toyota Rav4 to our dealer, which is one of the best IMO we've ever come across. The are straightforward, honest, don't upsell and most importantly for us (we only have one vehicle, I cannot drive) a free loaner when it needs to be in the shop longer than 1:30.

For tires we go to TiresPlus. The one near us has exceptional service and they'll order tire on TireRack at cost.
Last edited by canderson on Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tyrion
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by tyrion » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:08 am

Cherokee8215 wrote:I found a local dealer where the routine maintenance is reasonably priced and they almost never try to upsell.
This is what I do. The Toyota dealer has been good - $30-ish for the routine oil change + check every 5k miles. No upselling.

The Honda dealer is alright too.

I got fed up with the Ford dealer - expensive and inconsistent. So I found a local shop that's better but I'm still not thrilled.

letsgobobby
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:09 am

We take our Prius to the dealer, it rarely needs any 'repairs' and prefer to have the dealer do the oil changes on our hybrid. It's not that much in the scheme of things. Any repairs we've had have to do with seat belts (jammed mechanism, dog chewed one, our daughter dropped a toy in one, etc) and we preferred to have OEM replacements.

For my older car, like others I have found a garage I really trust. Reasonable pricing, very honest, and very convenient. Whatever he says needs to be done I have him do; whatever doesn't need to be done he'll tell me. The one time I didn't use him had to do with a failed computer, it was an expensive fix and only Toyota made the part, so there wasn't much saving in using him, so I took the vehicle to the dealer.

For oil changes I use one of the quick lube places and ignore every suggestion/upsell they attempt.

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Raymond
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Raymond » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:16 am

I would not take any car to Jiffy Lube or others of that ilk for anything - I've had an oil drain plug practically welded onto the pan by some undertrained idiot with an impact wrench (apparently because they didn't have the proper replacement washer to prevent the new oil from leaking out), and work not done (cabin and engine air filters supposedly replaced).

Find an honest independent mechanic who specializes in your make of vehicle. Since my wife and I live in Dallas, we take our Hondas to The Hondew Shop.

Or you can go to the dealership and ignore the upsells (my favorite is the "throttle body cleaning" BS), and do only the preventive maintenance that is specified in the owner's manual.

No personal experience with Costco tire services, but I have heard on this board that they are very good. My wife and I use Discount Tire, and are very pleased with them.

Pep Boys? I buy stuff like air filters and windshield wipers from them or AutoZone, but since I have the independent mechanic, I never use their other services.
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Traveller
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Traveller » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:49 am

Just say NO to quickly lubes! I've had 2 problems with them. First, they over-tightened the drain plug on one car with an aluminum oil pan and stripped the threads. Second time, they forgot to put in the crush washer on the drain plug and I didn't know until I discovered the oil puddle in my garage.

Now I go to local dealer and have found their prices to be LESS for routine oil changes and similar maintenance than the jiffy places are. For costly repairs, I get quotes from both dealer and a trusted local mechanic. Usually the dealer wins out. I find they have become very reasonable and competitive these days.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:53 am

I know I'm like a broken record; I bought a Tesla. My neighbor has one; he takes it in for its annual physical as recommended.

kaneohe
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by kaneohe » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:34 pm

stoptothink wrote:After much asking around, we were lucky to find a local shop that is really honest. Not the cheapest around, but always does the job right and he'll tell you what doesn't need to be done and how I can save on parts. I've recommended a few family members and friends to the same shop; no complaints. An honest mechanic is almost priceless.
Recommendations from folks you trust are priceless. Lacking that, perhaps Yelp would help (note that Yelp understand "good auto repair shops"
but apparently not "bad .................." )

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Fletch
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Fletch » Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:30 pm

Most maintenance - Volvo dealer where I bought the cars, I have a dealer who is extremely honest and competent. Tires - mostly at Costco in the past 20+ years. NEVER Jiffy Lube or equivalent - I've heard too many horror stories from friends who were trying to save a dollar and ended up worse off than if they had gone to a competent dealer with better trained service techs.

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Rodc
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Rodc » Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:41 pm

Independent repair shop for most things.

Once in a while I get behind and just don't have time to deal with an oil change mid-week and stop by Jiffy Lube. Just say no to their recommended add ons.

We have a couple of good tire shops that I use for tires.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Kenkat
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Kenkat » Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:44 pm

Agree with others who say to ask around for a good local mechanic or shop. Another good metric to confirm a good shop is to look in the parking lot during the week. If it is bursting at the seams with cars seemingly everywhere, it's probably a good sign that they do good work.

ubermax
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by ubermax » Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:58 pm

Dealership while under warranty , Indy after - however we just got a new car and there's a charge for oil changes during the warranty period - not the case with our other car - and so we're thinking of using an Indy instead for oil changes if it doesn't invalidate the warranty.

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ruralavalon
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:09 pm

Locally owned independent garage recommended by a knowledgeable friend.
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edge
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by edge » Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:53 pm

Expensive is relative. I currently have a mid size (think 5/e/a6/xf) luxury sports sedan that cost about 10% of my (not household) annual income. My neighbor' garages on either side of me have at least 100k more worth of cars in them compared to ours.

I'll take the safety features, tech, and performance and get a new car every 6-7 years or so. It is a small expense relatively.

Would not recommend if a car purchase is a big chunk of annual income.

fundseeker wrote:
edge wrote:I don't hold on to cars much beyond the warranty period.
That is an expensive habit, trading that often. If someone does that out of concerns about reliability and repair costs, it is really not justified since today's cars are just so much more reliable than they used to be and easily go 100k miles without problems. But, if you can afford trading that often, it might be fun to get the latest models.

quantAndHold
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:59 pm

Local independent garage, alternated with local independent quick lube. Costco for tires. I get it to a proper mechanic for a good going over once a year, or if the quick lube recommends any work that I didn't just have done (it's happened). The quick lube is fine for oil changes, and both faster and cheaper than the mechanic, but I would never trust them for any more than that.

The worst was the Audi dealer. I took it to the Audi dealer during the warranty period because I had free maintenance. They never seemed to be able to fix anything in a way that stayed fixed. It didn't cost me anything because of the warranty, but the car was always in the shop. After the warranty period ran out, I took it to the independent mechanic I had been going to for years, who immediately found $2300 worth of work that was needed. A couple of months later, after the $2300 worth of work, I had to take it back to the dealer to fix a recall. The dealer tried to convince me that my car needed another $1500 worth of unnecessary work. Then independent mechanic laughed. The car continued to be a money pit the entire time I owned it, but I drove it for years without ever needing any of the work the dealer recommended.

I drive a Mazda now. The Mazda dealer never tried to do anything like that.

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:40 am

I take my vehicle to the local Toyota dealership. He charges me about $8-10 more than the local independent mechanic but he 1) provides transportation to and from anywhere in Tucson and 2) washes the vehicle with each service.

I am not going to do a DIY oil change or the like. My brother has a auto repair shop and had at least a couple of engine issues due to poor DIY work. In addition, When my mechanic is looking over the car, he sees more than I do and often catches other problems.

RoC
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by RoC » Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:19 am

If you're happy with Jiffy Lube, continue to use them. Just get a good understanding of the routine maintenance your car needs, and what the manufacturer lists as the schedule in the owner's manual. That way if you go in and they tell you that you should have your brake lines flushed, but you know you did them the previous year, you'll know you don't need to be doing them again so soon. Likewise with other items such as filters, power steering fluid, and other items shops try to get you on.

Jiffy Lube uses Pennzoil, which is a high quality oil, but at this point all name brand oils are high quality. So if you're not happy with Jiffy Lube, you can try to find another auto shop that does oil changes. Chances are if you try a few different places, you'll eventually find one where you feel comfortable taking your car there and they don't pressure you to do a ton of stuff that's not needed.

Also, make sure you check their website before going for an oil change. Every shop that does oil changes will have coupons for oil changes on their website, so you might as well save a few bucks.


Regarding the tires, I also take my car to Costco for tires and am very happy with them.


As for the "bigger" items beyond oil changes and tires, check out cartalk.com and click on their Mechanic's Files link from the top menu. Select the option to look up shops by zip code and enter your zip code to do a search. Look for a local shop that has a good number of positive reviews. I do most of my own maintenance, but when something is bigger than I'm comfortable doing, I take my car to a respected local shop which I found using that search tool on the Car Talk website.

2comma
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by 2comma » Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:56 am

Independent repair shop you can trust. If it is a family run business all the better.

In our case my wife's Acura is under warranty, they provide a car for free and wash it whenever it's in for maintenance. On my 8 yr old truck I soon tired of the up sell at the quick lube places, boy they must have some incentives! After two places failed to tighten the drain plug I decided that was enough. I grew up DIY on cars, I just do it myself. Once I get too old to crawl around in on the garage floor I'll upgrade to the trusted independent.
If I am stupid I will pay.

cleeg
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by cleeg » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:24 am

We use our local Firestone Auto center where we purchased our tires. So for every oil change, there is a free tire rotation. Have found them very reliable for general auto repairs as well.

PatSea
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by PatSea » Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:58 am

I take our two vehicles to a local independently owned garage run by a friend of our daughter and son-in-law. He is honest, trustworthy and a very good mechanic. I feel fortunate to be in this situation.

tim1999
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by tim1999 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:12 pm

I'll add that I used to do my own oil changes until I got a new car that had an oddly short drain plug nut. I wasn't prepared for the oil to come out so quick after the first turn or two, I ended up with oil all over myself and in one of my eyes. Couldn't get out of the way quickly since I was underneath the car on my back. I pay someone else to do that work now.

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by c078342 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:27 pm

I take our 2 Porsches and the Audi to their respective dealers (both owned by the same entity) for a number of reasons. Great personalized service by writers who know us by name, especially at Porsche but also at Audi. I had a new battery comped by Porsche because the wait for a new set of tires was 30 minutes greater than they had told me. Fully documented service performed by trained (in Germany in the case of Porsche) technicians. No upselling - service per the manual. Free loaners and/or individual car service. Sure this comes at a premium, but is worth it in our opinion. These cars are long term vehicles - the Porsche 981 I'll own until I croak or can't drive it. THe Macan and A4 for at least 10 - 15 years. Dealer service is ultimately cheap insurance to us.

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Toons » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:29 pm

Cars are New.
They go to the dealerships. :happy
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Watty
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:31 pm

Here in Atlanta AAA has "car care" centers and I have been happy with them.

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by frugalecon » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:58 pm

It does seem important to both shop around and make an effort to learn enough to detect obvious trickery. I just had my VW in the dealer for service, using my $500 dealer credit for having a "clean" diesel. The service coordinator called to urge me considering getting the DSG transmission flushed and oil changed. I told him that surprised me, since the car has a plain vanilla standard transmission, not a DSG (an automatic that shifts like a manual). Couldn't decide whether he was an idiot or a cheater.

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by slowmoney » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:37 am

I am a dealership guy. They always try to up-sell and over-sell me.

So, I just follow the maintenance manual that came with the car. Periodically, if I feel that something needs to be addressed I will have them do the repairs.

A very, long time ago, a mechanic told me, "You don't do any preventative maintenance and you're surprised when your car has a break down?"

Since I use my car for work, the US government basically pays for the maintenance of my car. I bought my 2009 Focus with 4 miles and now it has 125,000. Given the regular maintenance, it seems to have a very long way to go yet. It is simply a fun and great car, good gas mileage, easy to drive and has cost me about $0.096 per mile to drive.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:51 am

Not really a DIY'er any longer but for the simplest and most outrageous "upsells," I still DIY. These unfortunately are now limited primarily to air filters, cabin air filters, wiper blades, and sometimes batteries--at least for me. With the possible exceptions of batteries and some cabin air filters, almost anyone can do these if they don't mind getting just a little bit dirty.

While cars are still in warranty, most everything is done at the dealership. However, I do cull much of the "recommended" from the "required."

Post-warranty, we have been using an independent. Unfortunately they have recently changed ownership and we are pretty unhappy with them now. And much of their pricing is not far off that of the dealership's, so what is the point? We will likely continue to use them for our out-of-warranty vehicles until we find a replacement shop.

The aforementioned independent also has been our source for tires for years. There is no Costco near us yet, so future tire replacements will likely be orders from Tire Rack drop-shipped to a local tire place.

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by bottlecap » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:29 am

Research the independents in your area. Check out any reviews you can find online (of course they are not all true, but can be an indication). Take your car to one for something simple and ask them to check something else that you know is fine (and that won't require extra work to get to). See what they say. If they try to upsell, take it to the next shop the next time and repeat.

Unless you can get a personal recommendation from someone you trust, that method has worked pretty well in the past for me.

JT

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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Smurf » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:13 am

Please don't take your car to any Jiffy Lube or other quack quick oil change place. Think about the cost of these services you are getting. Whenever a place offers a $19.95 oil change common sense will tell you something is very very very low quality. A typical quart of high quality Mobil 1 synthetic oil is $6/quart. Typical car may take 5 quarts plus a $6 filter. Do the math:

5 quarts x $6/quart = $30
1 filter x $6/filter = $6
Total $36 for a quality DIY change

Now where did the jiffy lube place come up with $19.95 and be able to actually net any profit?
1. They minimize expenses by using the crappiest oil and filter on the planet. No way is BobbyJo going to pump some sludge into my $30k truck that came out of some gunky 50 gallon drum with 2 inches of sludge in the bottom.
2. You don't need to be an astronaut to change oil, but they hire the "mechanics" that aren't real "mechanics". It's like having your filet prepared by the fry guy at McDonald's.
3. They don't. It's a loss leader to sell other unneeded services.

For all the people on this forum claiming to keep cars 10-15 years, why would you risk thousands to save a couple hundred dollars over the life of a car? Do yourself a favor and get it done with high quality materials whether you DIY or have it done at a high quality place.

Beck49
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Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:15 pm

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Beck49 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:38 am

I'd recommend a Boglehead approach. In other words, educate yourself. If find that if you go to the owners forum for your car you can very easily get a sense of unusual maintenance issues in the car, as well as some very simple DIY (as others mentioned) issues like replacing airfilters and cabin filters. There are always one or two very knowledgeable people on every forum and they will already have described the severity and symptoms of a problem you may be having, or the mechanic mentioned. Whether you go to a dealer or independent of course is a tough call, but at least you will be informed enough to have a useful conversation.

takeshi
Posts: 1175
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by takeshi » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:12 pm

mookie wrote:Hi, I'd like to hear how people handle auto repair/maintenance?
We tend to use the dealership when in warranty and an independent when out of warranty for routine maintenance. Keep in mind that all dealerships are not the same and we do not simply use the closest dealership but the most trustworthy one with the best service department. We understand that we don't have to use the dealership to maintain the warranty. It's just a matter of preference. Vehicles go to the independent for tires, alignments and second opinions.
mookie wrote:I used to take my car to several different auto mechanic/repair shops for oil changes, but it seemed like at every oil change, they were recommending further repairs/maintenance that did not follow the schedule in the owner's manual. I am not interested in learning to DIY. My current approach is:
--Jiffy Lube for oil change and routine maintenance as recommended in owner's manual
I'd highly recommend looking around for a recommended and reputably independent as well as ditching places like Jiffy Lube.
mookie wrote:I am not interested in learning to DIY.
You may want to reconsider, at least for some maintenance. Nothing beats knowing first hand exactly how the work was done and some maintenance is very easy.

MnD
Posts: 3730
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:41 pm

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by MnD » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:26 pm

Jiffy Lube for oil changes always with a coupon and always decline any additional services. A lot of times I just walk out to a nearby shopping center and tell them "nothing additional". That messes up their upsell system pretty well. :mrgreen:
Costco for tires and tire rotations/balances/repairs.

Expert independent Subaru mechanic anything else on the Subaru.
Expert independent Toyota mechanic for anything else on the Toyota.
The Nissan Altima hybrid is a question mark. I don't have an expert Nissan mechanic and not sure if they would be up on the hybrid - these are very uncommon vehicles in my state. So far sceduled maintenance has just been oil changes and filters but I will need to figure out something soon.

MnD
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:41 pm

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by MnD » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:35 pm

I've used Jiffy Lube or similiar for ~30 years and we keep our cars for 15 years on average. Never a problem with the quality of service and never had an engine problem. Some vehicles we use regular oil and switch later to high-mileage semi-synthetic, others full synthetic for the life of the vehicle. If you get full synthetic or semi-synthetic you will get nothing even close to a $19 oil change at Jiffy Lube, so your premise that all oil changes there are $20 is patently false. That said, most people get ripped off at Jiffy Lube because they are ignorant and/or cannot resist the upselling techniques. That is where they make their money and why they can offer an affordable basic oil change especially with a coupon. But upselling of unneeded service happens all the time at independent shops too. If you have ever changed your oil yourself you will note that it's not rocket science and doesn't require master mechanic status. Penzoil type XYZ in a drum is identical to Penzoil XYZ in the bottle. At a quick lube place they go through 55 gallon drums probably daily so time/turnover is not an issue. The potentially worst place to get an oil change is a small independent shop with purchases substandard no-name bulk oil in drums that they might take months to use up since they mostly do repairs and not oil changes.

p.s. setting your web browser to anonymous will often result in a better Jiffy Lube on-line coupon being displayed versus if you have cookies enabled and they know you are a repeat visitor.
Smurf wrote:Please don't take your car to any Jiffy Lube or other quack quick oil change place. Think about the cost of these services you are getting. Whenever a place offers a $19.95 oil change common sense will tell you something is very very very low quality. A typical quart of high quality Mobil 1 synthetic oil is $6/quart. Typical car may take 5 quarts plus a $6 filter. Do the math:

5 quarts x $6/quart = $30
1 filter x $6/filter = $6
Total $36 for a quality DIY change

Now where did the jiffy lube place come up with $19.95 and be able to actually net any profit?
1. They minimize expenses by using the crappiest oil and filter on the planet. No way is BobbyJo going to pump some sludge into my $30k truck that came out of some gunky 50 gallon drum with 2 inches of sludge in the bottom.
2. You don't need to be an astronaut to change oil, but they hire the "mechanics" that aren't real "mechanics". It's like having your filet prepared by the fry guy at McDonald's.
3. They don't. It's a loss leader to sell other unneeded services.

For all the people on this forum claiming to keep cars 10-15 years, why would you risk thousands to save a couple hundred dollars over the life of a car? Do yourself a favor and get it done with high quality materials whether you DIY or have it done at a high quality place.
Last edited by MnD on Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Naismith
Posts: 373
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Naismith » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:01 pm

letsgobobby wrote:We take our Prius to the dealer, it rarely needs any 'repairs' and prefer to have the dealer do the oil changes on our hybrid.
We bought a second Prius this year, and the first two years of routine maintenance is included.

An additional advantage of the dealership is that they handle any recalls or software updates that happen.

madpunster
Posts: 110
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Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by madpunster » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:02 pm

It can be tough to sort out the best way to go. I've had good and bad service from dealers, and generally good service from indies. If the indy shop is getting real popular, there can be a tendency for them to coast instead of hustling to earn your business. The other thing to factor in is short vs long term. If you have a beater and you just want to keep it running for a few months, then going cheap with parts might be the way to go. OTOH, if you want to keep your car long term and are looking at price primarily, then you could get some shoddy parts which will need replacing sooner and you'll end up getting dinged with more labor cost. There's also stuff which can be done super easy while the mechanic is in there prophylactically for no additional labor cost and maybe a few bucks which will get left out if competing on price only. As an example, we had a valve lash adjustment done which included a new valve cover gasket. About a year later, we found out spark plug tubes full of oil. It would've been nothing for the mechanic to slip on new tube seals while the cover was off and maybe $5 for the seals max.

Now I'm not really a DIY'er, but I'm cheap but respect and seek out value. I read enthusiast websites and look at youtube videos about the repairs (some of which inadvertently show you the wrong way to do things). Guys (and gals) out there argue about the merits of particular brands and types of brake pads and rotors which is a lot like us arguing about the Larry Portfolio vs Couch Potato. Somewhere in there you figure out whether you want ie: semi-metallic vs ceramic pads and it helps you speak intelligently with your mechanic. The other thing I've found useful is to look at your car before and after. If my cover clips are all missing after an oil change or jury rigged with cable ties (which has happened) I'm not going back. And after I saw how scratched up my AC compressor was after a new belt was put on and another mechanic pointed out that the belt had actually jumped a groove (probably put on that way), I wasn't going back there either. In fact, what I really needed was a new AC idler pulley not a new belt.

I don't know much about cars (and real car guys would know from my description that I've misnamed most of the above parts), but I try to pay attention, and it has really helped. I don't know much about investing, but I pay attention to this site and similarly when an acquaintance starts yakking about getting in on private equity or floating rate bonds, I can tilt my head and say "So dude, tell me about the liquidity and expense ratios."

Grt2bOutdoors
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Location: New York

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:19 pm

I thought I had a reliable mechanic, until he told me to get ready to change my Subaru Outback's timing belt within the next 12 months. Problem is, Subaru doesn't recommend changing it until either 105 months or 105,000 miles, whichever comes first. My car has 77,000 miles. This is symptomatic of mechanics desperate to boost their own bottom lines. I don't plan on driving 25k over the next 12 months and I don't plan on going back there for anything but an oil change. This is the same place that told me my struts were leaking oil and 70K miles, not so and I went under the car to inspect it myself. That mechanic working there and trying to sell me on the job isn't working at that particular shop anymore. He had a little problem in getting either a quote or the actual parts - especially since Subaru was the only authorized parts distributor, no after-market parts available for it. Whoops! :annoyed
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

poker27
Posts: 728
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:48 pm

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by poker27 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:41 pm

Smurf wrote:Please don't take your car to any Jiffy Lube or other quack quick oil change place. Think about the cost of these services you are getting. Whenever a place offers a $19.95 oil change common sense will tell you something is very very very low quality. A typical quart of high quality Mobil 1 synthetic oil is $6/quart. Typical car may take 5 quarts plus a $6 filter. Do the math:

5 quarts x $6/quart = $30
1 filter x $6/filter = $6
Total $36 for a quality DIY change

Now where did the jiffy lube place come up with $19.95 and be able to actually net any profit?
1. They minimize expenses by using the crappiest oil and filter on the planet. No way is BobbyJo going to pump some sludge into my $30k truck that came out of some gunky 50 gallon drum with 2 inches of sludge in the bottom.
2. You don't need to be an astronaut to change oil, but they hire the "mechanics" that aren't real "mechanics". It's like having your filet prepared by the fry guy at McDonald's.
3. They don't. It's a loss leader to sell other unneeded services.

For all the people on this forum claiming to keep cars 10-15 years, why would you risk thousands to save a couple hundred dollars over the life of a car? Do yourself a favor and get it done with high quality materials whether you DIY or have it done at a high quality place.

This doesn't make much sense. First off, not everybody wants or needs synthetic oil in their cars. For the bulk of people bulk oil is fine ( I use synthetic in both my bike and one of my cars, but regular oil in my Sonata).

We bring our 2011 Sonata to the dealer for oil changes, and they are under 25 bucks. Their goal is to get you in, and then hopefully add on additional things. If we need brakes or tires, we will go elsewhere.

Smurf
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:48 am
Location: Midwest

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Smurf » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:38 pm

poker27 wrote:This doesn't make much sense. First off, not everybody wants or needs synthetic oil in their cars. For the bulk of people bulk oil is fine ( I use synthetic in both my bike and one of my cars, but regular oil in my Sonata).

We bring our 2011 Sonata to the dealer for oil changes, and they are under 25 bucks. Their goal is to get you in, and then hopefully add on additional things. If we need brakes or tires, we will go elsewhere.
The pros and cons of synthetic vs. conventional oil is not the point. My point is you cannot even change your own oil for $20 by buying the cheapest stuff available in an auto store. Jiffy Lube uses the lowest quality materials available to minimize the price to get you in the door and then up sell. They are marketing their speed not their quality. That's what doesn't make sense to me when we're talking about expensive cars.

I went to Jiffy Lube place once and afterwards there was a rattle in my car. After months of tinkering to find it, the rattle was actually under the car. The Jiffy Lube guy removed the plastic rock guard under the car to access the oil filter and then put it back on with one screw (instead of the six it came with). He couldn't take the extra 45 seconds and put the screws in, so it just hung there flapping. That's the kind of poor quality associated with SOME of these places.

Luke Duke
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Location: Texas

Re: How do you handle auto care? (for a non-DIY'er)

Post by Luke Duke » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:40 am

frugalecon wrote:It does seem important to both shop around and make an effort to learn enough to detect obvious trickery. I just had my VW in the dealer for service, using my $500 dealer credit for having a "clean" diesel. The service coordinator called to urge me considering getting the DSG transmission flushed and oil changed. I told him that surprised me, since the car has a plain vanilla standard transmission, not a DSG (an automatic that shifts like a manual). Couldn't decide whether he was an idiot or a cheater.
Take every word that a service advisor salesman says with a grain of salt. They all work on commission. Their livelihood literally depends on getting you to spend the most money possible.

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