Let’s not beat around the bush here guys – a mechanic is always going to find something. Whether is something with your engine, with your wheels, your tires, a simple two-minute fix is going to cost you a lot of cash. We have all been scammed at one point or another, or at least we know somebody who has. And this is especially problematic for people who seem like they don’t know much about cars – the academic nerdy types, younger folks, and women. And your only defence, besides a bit of moxie, is educating yourself. That’s what we are here for.
In this article we get into common lies your car mechanic probably told you, and a couple of ways you can avoid these.
Prepaid maintenance isn’t that necessary
These are very convenient, but only for the dealership and its repair centre. Most of the time these plans are not worth the extra money, either being too expensive for services you don’t really need or not really covering the services you do need.
Be wary of scare tactics
Statements like “I wouldn’t drive another mile” or “it is good as dead” or “sell it for scrap”, or any other sentence like that is a red flag. Most of the time its somebody trying to scare you and get extra money off of you. A true professional would not be so dramatic or difficult.
Oil change myths
First things first – no, you don’t have to change your oil every three thousand miles. For most drivers who go to work every day in their own town (or near it), it’s enough you change your oil every 12 months. Yes, this includes going somewhere on holiday. In fact, some higher quality lubricants can extend this to 8000 miles, while synthetic motor oils can go up to 15000.
Don’t stick to a fixed service schedules
Contacting a decent car repair centre will tell you the same thing – every car is different. And no, this isn’t just because of the obvious model and brand differences. Rather, we are talking about how these cars are used, how many loads do they carry, how much do you travel, how much do you drive, are you pulling a heavy trailer, do you live in extreme weather, is there lots of dust, or heat, or cold.
Nitrogen in your tires is not a factor. Nitrogen is there to keep your tires inflated when dramatic weather changes happen. However, this isn’t that important for modern tires, and nitrogen itself won’t help much. Just use regular air and save up on money.
More and more transmission nowadays is sealed, and you will not have to mix it up and actually use a dipstick to check its levels. You can expect 100 000 miles from your fluid, if not more. Unless you have some kind of debris, or if there is some odd discolouration, you can count on your fluid staying with you for a very long time.
You don’t have to winterize your car that often
Both coolant and antifreeze can last for a very long time today. If something goes wrong, it’s not the coolant, but something else. Your coolants in today’s more modern cars can last for anything between fifty to a hundred and fifty thousand miles. And even older cars with older coolants need a change every twenty-four thousand miles. So, keep the thing topped off, check it every two years, and you should be right as rain.
Don’t trust them on recalls
Recalls are, of course, obligatory things, services that must be issued by dealerships. However, sometimes they make a mistake or forget to notify you. Maybe there is an issue with your contact information or some other kind of trouble. Since this is basically the mechanical and the dealership losing money, they won’t really bend over backwards for you to recall the car.
So, before you buy a car, you check and ask around, see how trustworthy this specific dealership is. Furthermore, check the news from time to time, investigate the manufacturers’ website – maybe they posted something of interest for you.
Furthermore, sometimes dealerships will refuse to do a recall for whatever reason. Unless you have ruined the car and acted against the stipulations of your contract, you are most likely entitled to a complete recall.
And there you have it, folks, we hope this has been informative. There is nothing worse than a dodgy mechanic, but with the right know-how, you can easily avoid one. Learn when and how to change your oil, understand that you don’t need nearly as many check-ups as they say you do, keep your coolant and oil topped off… The most important thing is, to be honest with yourself and how you treat your car.