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Vehicle Repairs
Owning a vehicle is a wonderful thing but can be stressful especially when it breaks down or needs some type of repair.

Are you being overcharged?

Owning a vehicle is a wonderful thing but can be stressful especially when it breaks down or needs some type of repair 


Let me tell you something that will save you money and keep you from getting ripped off. 


What the average person who takes their vehicle into service does not know is there is a labor time guide that estimates should be built from. I can tell you from my most service centers do not use them, and their employees are not being held accountable to use themOver my years I have seen techs inflate those labor times by double or more, I have seen advisors inflate estimates and I have seen managers do nothing about it. I will say as a tech I did not and as a manager I do not tolerate it, and neither should you. 


You will have instances where they will need to charge more than book time. Remember they are in the business of selling technicians' time. If you have some old rusty bolts that look like they will break the tech will include that in the estimate. If they are fixing an oil leak and there is oil all over that will take more than normal time to clean up, they will price in an extra half hour or so. Whatever they charge you just make sure they can justify every hour. If they cannot or will not it may be a time to find a new service department. Remember it is your car, your money, and an automotive industry standard. 


Where Should you get your oil changed? 

Why get your oil changed at your vehicle manufactures dealership? Number one reason it should be cheaper. Most vehicles today take specific oil, and that is usually fully synthetic. Oil change places and tires stores make money on one thing, oil changes and tires. Most oil changes from my dealership to a Valvoline will cost you double what ours is priced. Our standard fully synthetic oil change runs $48.95 where Valvoline is usually close to double. Like I said that is what they must make money on. They have lower paid, lower trained people doing the work, and they do not get the big repair work and manufacture backing the dealerships do. Most of the dealership's profit comes from repair work being paid from the manufacture warranty, extended warranties or customer payMost oil changes are done at a wash, or a loss to keep their customers coming to them. 


Other benefits include the trained professionals, the proper parts including oil, the fact they should be checking the vehicle for any recalls or other work that is free to you from the manufacture. Also, if you ever seek some type of goodwill, it is usually calculated by loyalty. If you never come to the dealer for anything but what is free the odd of getting help is slim. Most people go to an oil change place on the corner because of convenience. If they just understood the long-term price that cost them, they would build a good relationship with their dealer. Personally, my dealership picks up and drops off vehicles for customer and does everything we can to make the experience as convenient as possible.  



Don’t' Skip on Maintenance! 


The better you treat your vehicle the better it will treat youTwo things I want to make sure you are aware of that can keep your vehicle running longer and in better shape.  


One thing which is not normally recommended by manufactures until problems occur. That is a top engine induction service. What happens is you have major carbon build-up on the intake and/or exhaust valves due to fuel contamination or incomplete burning of the fuelThis can create the following.  


  • Rough idle 

  • Crank no start. 

  • Extended crank 

  • Engine misfire 


GM has a bulletin to clean the valves and if cleaning does not work you may have to replace them. Personally, I clean the carbon from my throttle body and perform a top engine induction service every 20k miles or so on my car. Why wait for your vehicle to develop a misfire, rough idle, extended crank, or other issue? At that point you are going to have to pay for diagnostic for the concern, then pay for the cleaning. They valves are usually so dirty at that point it may take a couple cleaning procedures or even replacement of the valves. I prefer to keep mine clean and running smooth. See the pictures below to see how carbon can accumulate on valves, piston rings and even your fuel injectors causing rough idles and bad fuel mileage. 





The other is simple, change your oil in a timely manner. I have seen engines that needed replaced because someone missed a couple oil changes. When that happens, no warranty will cover an engine. You are left with a huge expense that could have been avoided for a hundred dollars or so. What happens is your engine oil starts getting thick and sludge starts building up. This sludge will clog oil passages and cause bearing issues, valve issues, clog oil feed pipes to vehicles with turbos and do a lot of damage to your engine. GM recommends oil changes at 7,500 miles. The max I would go is 5,000. Most extended warranties require it by 5k miles. If it is an older vehicle 2011 or older, I would recommend 3,000. 


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