What is it with businesses that advertise they can do an oil change for $9, $19, etc.? I will tell you what the deal is: Upselling. The business in question tries to get you to do other work to your car, some necessary, most is not because they have to make up for what was lost in the cheap oil change. Well, you just want a bargain and your not going to let them sell you anything but your $9 oil change. They know this, so they will keep cost of the service to a minimum.
how they do this is simple. They buy the lowest quality oil filter, and oil, it will cost them the least. The problem with low quality oil filters are almost to numerous to list. Here are a few of the majors: valving-good oil filters will keep the oil up in the engine when the engine is shut off. I bet you have heard someone start their car and hears a rattling noise for a few seconds, that is the sound of an engine running without oil. on timing chain engines it can make the chain stretch, then jump. This will bend the valves and cost you anywhere from $1500-$3500 to fix! Filter capacity-cheap filter hold less(pay less=filter less). Some low buck filters actually shed quite a bit of filter fiber into your oil, this fiber then finds its way into your lifters and variable valve timing sprockets.
Next is low cost labor (you have to be able to read to get capacities, torques, procedures). Are they trustworthy? how much training do they have? The longer i am in this business, the more i believe most problems are caused by improper repair procedures and sloppy work.
Bottom line here is: low dollar oil changes most likely cause you high dollar repairs!
When you have your tires removed, make sure the technician uses a torque wrench to aceive final torque on your wheels. This can be easily observed by watching the technician move the torque wrench slowly untill the torque wrench clicks, or beeps, if the torque wrench does not actually move, than the lug nut is tighter than the set torque of the wrench. IF THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT FOLLOWED ON A MODERN CAR, YOUR BRAKE ROTORS WILL MOST LIKELY WARP.
Extended oil changes: I personally do not think leaving your oil and filter in your car for longer than 5,000 miles is a good idea at all. Heres why SLUDGE. Sludge is probably the biggest boom to auto repair since i have been in the business. sludged up engines that starve the engine for oil wind up costing their customers $1,000's. The sludge that builds up in our engines is a different kind of material than it used to be, it is crunchy granular, and hard. if this sludge accumulates in the variable cam timing actuators now found on most makes, is causes them to fail. most cam timing actuator replacements cost between $1,000 - $2000. usually the oil screen plugs up and complete engine failure will result. ALWAYS SHUT OFF THE ENGINE IF THE OIL LIGHT COMES ON, DO NOT TRY TO DRIVE WITH THE LIGHT ON! These failures are preventable by getting the sludge out and keeping it out of the engine through oil flushes and regular oil changes.The Volkswagen/ Audi 1.8t engines that are considered to be a lemon have actually have beed super reliable when we perform an oil flush once per year and perform oil changes every 3,000 miles. i have not had one 1.8t fail that is on an Autometrics maint. plan.
keep this in mind, the popular trend for selling cars right now is to have included maintenance, Free oil changes for the first two years, that sounds prestty good doesn't it, ......well who wants to pay for it? the factories don't so they draft a maint plan that allows them to only have to pay for 2 oil changes in 2 years! you get the accumulated sludge for free to deal with after the warranty has expired.
Lifetime fluid fills on transmissions, etc. The first time i saw this was on the late Volvo 850's. Volvo said their transmission fluid was a lifetime fill. Volvo had so many failures (lots under warranty) and complaints that they quickly changed their tune to transmission flush every 30,000 miles! I have seen lots of Volkswagons/Audis without dipsticks with destroyed transmissions at 80,000 miles, these were "lifetime" fluids as well. What do you think the life of your car is? I aim to keep it running perfectly for 200,000 miles. This longevity is easy to achieve if the maint. is done. The notorious vw transmissions are pretty reliable when the fluid is serviced on a good maint. plan
Here are some reasons to stay loyal to your mechanic (as long as the service is good)
1. It will save you money. If you are wondering how, I will tell you. Most people that bounce around for service because there is a deal across town, family member took car to shop x,y, or z for service, ect, wind up costing themselves more than they think they are saving. This is because none of them have any idea what the other shop has done. In my shop, I have computer software that keeps track of service records on the car. My shop software is called protractor, there are little red or green bullets that change from red to green when a service, filter, plugs, etc are performed. the bullet will stay green for a pre determined time or mileage before it will change back to red indicating the service is due again. this makes it impossible to perform the same service twice between normal service interevals.
2. It will keep your car more reliable. Our computer software also keeps the factory recommended services in check with the green and red bullets. So your fuel filter gets changed when it is supposed to (prevents costly fuel pump failure). So your spark plugs get changed when they are supposed to(prevents catalytic converter damage-misfires cause catalyst damage), by the way some cars need the plugs changed at 30,000 miles, some at 105,000 miles, so no blanket tune up interval will work. The manufacturers have a time and mileage recommendation interval for every fluid change, every maintenance, every hard part change for every car.
3. Prompt repair. Say you are just leaving town on a camping trip and find out your tail lights are out, radiator hose is leaking, etc, If the shop you are at sees you for regular service, they will feel obliged to get you going as soon as possible. If they don't know you, you may not experience the same urgency.
4. Plain old value. At Autometrics., I give all of my customers a reduced labor rate for displaying our Autometrics license plate frames on their cars. I also have a referral program in effect that spiffs you cash for just recommending me to your friends.v
Not every vehicle has a timing belt, some have a timing chain. So the first thing you need to do is find out whether you have one and if you do when does it need to be changed? . A timing belt is something that can be checked, but only approximately. If you have a technician check your timing belt, they can check for cracks and glazing of the inner surfaces. The big problem is TIMING BELTS THAT LOOK GOOD CAN FAIL. This is because the timing belt is comprised of fiberglass cords that do not allow for stretching. In practice they do stretch a little, but not enough to use as a guide for replacement. Manufactures' interevals are the only way to go.
There are two types of engines. 1. Interference style and 2. Non-interference. If you have an interference style engine (ask the shop) and the timing belt were to break the valves would hit the pistons and this is where it can become quite costly to repair. If you have a non-interference style engine the vehicle would just stop.
The attitude “if it aint broke don’t fix it”, isn’t a good attitude to have with this.
This is a fairly expensive job, ranging from $600 and up, but if it were to break, the costs would likely be in the thousands. When the belt breaks, the engine's internal timing is lost, this allows the valves to hit the pistons, which then bends the valves. If the valves are bent, they can be replaced by removing the cylinder head. By the way, i have heard it many, many times that breaking the timing belt requires engine replacement, that is just not true. 99% of the time, when the timing belt breaks, the engine IS repairable. We typically replace bent valves, inspect the pistons and other components for damage, then replace the head gasket and get you going again.
When you take your vehicle in to have the timing belt replaced the shop will probably suggest changing the water pump, belt tensioners and rollers at the same time since if any of those components fail, it will result in the same effect as the belt breaking. I always recommend changing the oil seals as well as i doubt they will last another 90,000 miles! Our aim is to make sure you don't have to service anything in the timing belt area untill the next timing belt intereval.
check this video out**