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Old 03-05-2015, 04:27 PM   #41
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The other thing that drives me crazy is tire places that want to replace valve stems that are not exhibiting any problems when you change tires (in our case seasonally or otherwise when they wear out) yet they don't generally recommend that people replace their valve stems every x months.

A number of years ago I had my winter changeover done at a place and they replaced the valve stems unilaterally without my authorization and I make a fuss and refused to pay for them. I now have AWD vehicles and don't do changeovers anymore and am still waiting to have a valve stem fail on me.
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Old 03-05-2015, 04:38 PM   #42
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Heh, heh, last time I set foot inside a dealer's "authorized" shop was for free warranty work on my last new car a '91. Since then, I have done everything through independent shops as needed or as specifically stated in the manufacturer's maintenance book that came with the car.

Since I now buy used, I usually do critical things (oil/filter changes, timing belt, transmissions flush, etc.) "by the book." Other stuff, I wait until it fails or is failing (belts, hoses, etc. - yes, you could get stranded, but I pay my INs. co $3/mo for road side service.) None of my 3 cars has a book value greater than a couple of thousand dollars (probably less.) So, when a guy told me I needed to overhaul my auto-trans, I just drove away. That was 30K ago. Still no real issues. He looked up the diagnostic for the blinking light and said I needed the trans repair. I looked it up on the net and (specifically for my year/model) it said that there was a momentary over-heat, due to a design flaw. I now know how to avoid that issue (don't use lower gears to brake on hills, heh, heh.) My point is that by driving an older car, you can play off replacement of the car vs a repair. If you guess wrong, the cost is about the same.

As far as air filters, spark plugs, electronics, etc., it becomes very apparent when these items need to be replaced. If you can't tell by the actual performance of the car, you can tell when the gas mileage drops off significantly. My best SWAG is that today's cars really never need the spark plugs changed. Using unleaded fuel and electronic ignition, spark plugs (even old, less than perfect ones) will either fire or they won't. You'll know the difference. (FWIW, my '99 honda has original plugs at almost 150K and mileage is same as when I purchased it used at 100K.) I will consider changing them if the mileage drops off. Otherwise, what is the point?

Just a minimal understanding of the way cars work is all most people need to know how to keep their cars running - IOW when to have it worked on. Go "by the book" or watch for things to fail (or look bad - eg., belts, hoses.)

More than ever, YMMV.
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Old 03-05-2015, 04:42 PM   #43
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+1 Or as my ol' man used to say "If it ain't broke.... don't fix it."

The only exceptions for me are routine maintenance like oil changes and timing belts.
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Old 03-05-2015, 04:44 PM   #44
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My best SWAG is that today's cars really never need the spark plugs changed. Using unleaded fuel and electronic ignition, spark plugs (even old, less than perfect ones) will either fire or they won't.
actually, it's the opposite on today's turbo cars - pushing the limits on a 2.0 liter wears out the plugs pretty fast - I used to have to change my cold iridium plus after 10K miles on my WRX

one thing I always do on my turbo cars is to make sure the plugs get changed at least every 60K
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Old 03-05-2015, 04:46 PM   #45
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To answer the original question Midpack, No. We generally keep our cars til about 100k miles; we don't put more than about 10k on a year. During that time oil gets changed no more often than manual says, and I may have done a timing belt or two (well, a mechanic did). I used to sort of enjoy changing oil but no more. Same with brakes. Frankly, now you lift the hood and I'm lucky to identify the major parts. May not be fair to the next owner, but I've not been inclined to do coolant flushes last few decades even. If you're trying to get past 100k I'd recommend what the manual says give or take a few thousand miles on items, but I think something like a generic non specified "checkup" is about as bad as turning it over to a Quickie Lube and telling them to do whatever they think needs doing.

Once our cars get past warranty I look for a good local shop. Since retired, I even drive across town to near workplace just to use the guys I developed a relationship with. It's nice to know the folks that are going have their way with you.
PS: Re read this and autocorrect thinks Midpack should be Mudpack!
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:03 PM   #46
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Without dwelling on prior service background (another thread), I dropped DW's Camry with 100K miles off for a more comprehensive/less routine service this morning. [...]
Do most people really spend $595 on service without any idea what's included?
No, never did that, but then I have never had a 100,000 mile servicing done either. It would take me thirty years or more to put 100,000 miles on a car because I don't drive very much. I don't keep cars that long.

I think you are right to be questioning the $595 charges.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:04 PM   #47
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actually, it's the opposite on today's turbo cars - pushing the limits on a 2.0 liter wears out the plugs pretty fast - I used to have to change my cold iridium plus after 10K miles on my WRX

one thing I always do on my turbo cars is to make sure the plugs get changed at least every 60K
I'm sure your point is well taken. However, whenever I "flog the hamsters" in my Honda, the only thing that gets worn is the bearings on their little hamster wheel.

Turbo? What's that? Oh yeah. That's the thing that costs more as original-equipment than my car! Seriously, I love performance cars, but have given them up for economy and the fact that there's no place to use them in the Islands (with the possible exception of Saddleback Rd on the Big Island.)

Flog those turbocharged thoroughbreds once for me, Big Hitter! And remember, YMMV.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:06 PM   #48
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Good one, I only run 78% myself...
Rounding error...
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:16 PM   #49
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Flog those turbocharged thoroughbreds once for me, Big Hitter! And remember, YMMV.
always
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:37 PM   #50
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A ...That's why at 100K miles I went for a little more - since I skipped most everything the manufacturer recommended at 30K, 60K and 90K. ....
I'm curious what you skipped, if it was recc in the manual (or by 'mfg', did you mean 'dealer'?)?

I can see things like inspecting air filters and replace as needed, rather than by miles. But things like coolant, or trans oil changes, I would follow the book.

As others mentioned, I think you can wait on plugs until a problem is noted - I was told that the CEL will throw a 'misfire' code long before you can feel it. I don't know if that is true or not, but suspect it is. I'l test it though, before the next change...



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Correct, my tires work just fine with 80% nitrogen, 100% isn't needed.
The other thing about the whole Nitrogen debate - if the tires actually did lose 'air' faster than 'pure' nitrogen, when you top it off, you are replacing the ~ 22% 'leaky gasses' with 78% nitrogen air, so the concentration of N would increase again. Pretty soon, you have 'pure' N (and the tire shops use the kind of systems that filter N from the air, and IIRC, is closer to 98% anyway).

And there is a downside - I had the oil change place (I found one that seems to be good, no high pressure sell, they've never made a mistake - I didn't like Jiffy-Lube, very high pressure up-sell) tell me they wouldn't check my air pressure, since I had 'green' caps, and wanted N (which they don;t do). I laughed, said N is a scam, and asked to please check and adjust air pressure.

So some people aren't getting their air pressure checked, and that's more important than the exact % of N (if important at all).

-ERD50
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:15 PM   #51
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I'm curious what you skipped, if it was recc in the manual (or by 'mfg', did you mean 'dealer'?)?

I can see things like inspecting air filters and replace as needed, rather than by miles. But things like coolant, or trans oil changes, I would follow the book.
As I said earlier, I summarily ignore dealer added recommendations, and some significant manufacturer recommendations as well WRT at what mileage they're really necessary. Most can wait longer or run to (near) fail. So I guess I fall somewhere between you and Koolau in my auto maintenance MO. I am more conservative than Koolau and you're more conservative than I am. So far, I've yet to have a costly surprise...knock on wood, or my head if closer.
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:28 PM   #52
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For my previous car the dealer wanted to do a fuel injector system cleaning at 60,000 miles. About $200 to hook up a machine that ran a cleaner through the tubes and injectors. I said no. The car has 140,000 on it and the injectors are still fine.
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:31 PM   #53
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/snip/

So some people aren't getting their air pressure checked, and that's more important than the exact % of N (if important at all).

-ERD50

But since new cars have TPMS it is not as big of a deal...
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:35 PM   #54
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My two cars look beautiful... KBB price
98 Lincoln Signature 125K miles. Dealer price $3400, Private party $2500
06 Cadillac SLS 78K miles.Dealer price $2800, Private party $2200
pIc:
Favorite vehicle you've ever owned
(your favorite might have been on this thread... memories)

They run great... both have the same problem... the auto suspension system... (ride softness, self leveling) don't work, so the default is "off" and a ride that is a teensy bit harder, but which is great for handling. All else works.

Past 5 years extra costs:
Cadillac: brake line fix.. $200, oil change (me) $10 w/synthetic oil and filter. Ignition repair $250.
Lincoln: $29 oil change, $400 tires, $120 brakes and rotors... (me)

Total average cost per month including service, depreciation, insurance, registration... since we bought (Lincoln in 2000, Cadillac in 2004) I calculate at $133/car per month.

Yeah... so we don't drive much anymore. Helps with the budget. Probably no more cars for us, 'cept I have my eye on the 2008 Pontiac G6 that my 90 year old neighbor drives... when she gets a new car... garaged, and w/25K miles... white sports coupe. Nice, but not as fast as my SLS.

It will be a cold day in hell when I bring my car in for a dealer inspection. 7 years ago the Lincoln dealer warned me about my "unsafe" car, and wanted to do $5500 in suspension work.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:25 PM   #55
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My two cars look beautiful... KBB price
..............snip................................ .................................................. .....
It will be a cold day in hell when I bring my car in for a dealer inspection. 7 years ago the Lincoln dealer warned me about my "unsafe" car, and wanted to do $5500 in suspension work.
That $5500 would have supported quite a good vacation for the parties involved, except the owner paying the bill.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:39 PM   #56
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I worked for a major auto manufacturer for 24 years, and am completely familiar with every facet of a dealership operations.

Don't ever believe that the Service Writer at a new car dealership is your friend. He is a very well paid commissioned salesman, and his job is selling $1000 brake jobs to little old ladies that should cost $400 tops. The prerequisite for becoming a Service Writer is a complete lack of conscience and the need for more money.

Go to any dealership for a 30K, 60K or 90K maintenance, and you've given that Service Writer a license to steal. Never, never fall for such a package.

My family still owns a new car dealership that's been voted #1 car dealership and #1 luxury car dealership 5 years in a row--in a city of 1 million people. They're #2 in service satisfaction. The only time my car has ever been in the service department was the day I picked it up. I would never use a new car dealership for service unless it's a recall or warranty work.

Go to the owners manual or maintenance chart and specifically order what maintenance needs done. And find yourself a first rate local independent mechanic to do the work for 40% of what a new car dealership has to charge.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:03 PM   #57
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You don't get a deal at your family's dealership? So much for the friends and family discount.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:27 PM   #58
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I worked for a major auto manufacturer for 24 years, and am completely familiar with every facet of a dealership operations.

... I would never use a new car dealership for service unless it's a recall or warranty work.

.....
Last month, for the first time ever, we took a car to the Dealer. 2009 Civic with 90,000 miles, running very rough (esp at start up) and the independent we went to first couldn't figure it out. Thus, figured Dealer was maybe worth it.

Dealer: "Computer says nothing wrong, all 2009s run like this." No charge from dealer, luckily.

Still not running right, so took it to inconveniently located, old-stalwart independent: Broken engine mount and, "maybe" needs valve adjustment. Went with both and runs fine now. So much for the expertise of the dealer....
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Old 03-05-2015, 11:08 PM   #59
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Do most people really spend $595 on service without any idea what's included?

I don't know about most people, but I certainly have not, and never will. As a matter of good practice, I have no plans to bring any of our vehicles, new or otherwise, into a dealer for anything. And that includes my 2014 VW turbocharged diesel Passat.

I do not have any recollection of ever bringing a car into a dealership for an inspection (God forbid), scheduled maintenance, or a repair. All maintenance and repairs are done by me, and if I can't do it, then we have a trusted independent shop that gets the work.

For those of you that go to those dealer service department rip offs, open your owner's manual and find the maintenance schedule and read it. No where on it does it recommend fuel injector cleaning (hey guys, gasoline is a solvent!). Most, if not all, coolant systems contain fluid that do not require changing for at least 100,000 miles (or more). Auto transmission service? Usually not for 100,000 or more miles. Etc, etc.

Do have your timing belt changed on time, though (if your engine has one). Preferentially at an independent shop that will change ALL the rotating parts in the belt path. (Dealer mech typically just changes the fabric belt to save time and make him more dollars). Oh, timing belts usually don't break on their own...it's usually a water pump or idler pulley that fails and takes the belt out. And that usually happens if you don't change those rotating parts out during the first belt change interval.

(My pet peeve) - Dealer oil changes:

If you folks with turbo charged engines let the "wash jockeys" at the dealership change your oil (mechanics are usually too busy on "high dollar" work to change oil), you better hope the correct spec oil is put in or you may be buying a turbo very soon, and they are not cheap. Turbocharger shafts spin pretty fast and get real hot. 100% synthetic oil is generally spec'd for the oil change since the turbo shaft is lubed through a line from the oil pump system. Dino oil can't tolerate the heat and burns off, and the shaft will fail. All car manufacturers have a written spec for the oil manufacturer to meet and that is also spelled out in your owners manual.

Also, stay away from "quickee" oil change shops. Their techs are less qualified than the dealer wash jockeys.
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Old 03-05-2015, 11:15 PM   #60
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Last month, for the first time ever, we took a car to the Dealer. 2009 Civic with 90,000 miles, running very rough (esp at start up) and the independent we went to first couldn't figure it out. Thus, figured Dealer was maybe worth it.

Dealer: "Computer says nothing wrong, all 2009s run like this." No charge from dealer, luckily.

Still not running right, so took it to inconveniently located, old-stalwart independent: Broken engine mount and, "maybe" needs valve adjustment. Went with both and runs fine now. So much for the expertise of the dealer....
The Honda is known for durability. They do have to have the timing belt changed from time to time, and that's about it other than oil changes. If you have a manual shift, the transmission fluid needs changed every other oil change. We have a 2012 Civic SI.
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