We all rely on our vehicles to get us where we need to go, but when something goes wrong, it can be a major headache. That’s why it’s important to find a reputable auto service shop that you can trust. However, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about auto service and repair. Here are five of the most common ones:
Myth No. 1: Independent repair shops are always less expensive than dealer service bays.
Many independent repair shops (as well as some national and regional chains) charge lower labor rates than franchised new-car dealerships, but we cannot guarantee that they are always less expensive. We know of independent shops that charge around $100 per hour for labor and charge for diagnosis as well as time spent replacing or repairing parts.
Even if dealers charge more for labor, the differences may not be significant. If you don’t see a posted labor rate, ask any repair shop what they charge.
Keep in mind that labor isn’t the only cost associated with service and maintenance. Repair shops all charge retail prices for the parts they install, with some charging more than others. A dealer may also be required to use factory original-equipment parts, which are more expensive than aftermarket parts used by an independent shop.
Myth No. 2: Cars today are virtually maintenance-free.
Today’s cars require less maintenance than cars built 25 years ago, especially in the first few years of ownership, but they still require routine maintenance. Oil changes and tire rotations should be performed at least once a year and, for most drivers, twice a year. Furthermore, engine air filters and cabin air filters should be replaced every couple of years.
With a few exceptions, these are the primary service items for many vehicles during the first three or four years of ownership.
Depending on where and how you drive, brake pads and rotors may need to be replaced every couple of years, though some drivers can get by with less. Tires and batteries can last for five years or more, but they may need to be replaced sooner in hot climates or on vehicles that travel a lot of miles.
Myth No. 3: Mechanics always push more work to drive up repair bills.
Mechanics and service writers at repair shops frequently push more work than you may have anticipated, and in some cases, they are trained to do so. When you go in for an oil change or a brake inspection, they may return with a long list of repairs or replacements.
That is part of the job description at some repair shops: determine what else drivers may require or agree to pay for.
How do you tell when something is genuine and when it isn’t? It can be difficult unless you are trained as an auto technician. This emphasizes the importance of establishing a relationship with a repair shop that you can trust and rely on for sound advice.
Myth No. 4: There is only one standard for oil changes, and it’s 3,000 miles.
Changing the oil every 3,000 miles was once considered the industry standard, but that hasn’t been the case since most cars still had carburetors.
For the 2014 model year, BMW recommended a 10,000-mile service interval. Previously, it was 15,000 miles (though many BMW owners did it sooner).
Some of the longer intervals are for synthetic oil, but some vehicles can run on regular oil for up to 10,000 miles.
Manufacturers such as General Motors, Honda, and Chrysler do not specify a mileage interval for some engines, instead of relying on oil-life monitors to notify the owner when it is time to change the oil. That could be 10,000 miles or more.
Myth No. 5: Only mechanics should do any work on today’s cars.
Despite the growth in car technology, owners can still do many maintenance tasks on modern vehicles, but the secret is to know your knowledge and skill limits, and whether you have the tools you need.
We know some dedicated do-it-yourselfers who still change their oil (even though they probably can get it done cheaper at a quick-lube shop), others who replace brake pads and rotors, and a truly adventurous owner who replaced the timing belt and water pump on a Toyota V-6.
For the not-so-mechanically inclined, there are routine checks you can perform frequently. Checking the oil level is one. Doing that every two weeks or so will alert you if there is an oil leak. Ditto for checking the tire pressure. The tires may look OK, but you might not be able to see a nail that’s embedded in the tread, causing a slow leak. Frequently checking the air pressure can help spot a small problem before it becomes a big one.
Are You Looking for an Independent Auto Service Shop You Can Trust?
If you’re considering making a change to an independent auto repair mechanic trusted by thousands of happy customers, look no further than Autotech Blackhawk. Why? We differ from other automotive repair shops because we are a relationship shop. This means that the more of your car repair needs we support you with, the better able we are to customize our recommendations based on your driving habits and needs. Whether you want to keep the daily driver in ‘good enough’ condition, style your new car so that it’s customized just for you, maintain your favorite car in ‘like new’ condition, or even train your whole family to be more knowledgeable about cars – we partner with you to ensure that your cars meet your needs. We also offer an industry-leading 3-Year/36,000-mile warranty, so we only use Original Equipment and manufacturer-recommended products. Contact us now to book your no-contact, friendly appointment! We truly value your trust and your business, so thank you for staying local with your auto repair needs.