If your days are exceptionally busy and you don’t have the time to take your vehicle to the dealership for an oil and lube, it’s a good bet you’ll get the work done at one of the many lube service shops around the state. While this can be a sensible, time-saving decision, it may also be putting a good-sized hole in your wallet whenever one of their technicians points out other dire services your vehicle needs right away.
You’re not a mechanic – so, how do you know if they’re padding their pocket while emptying yours? Unless you completely trust the shop, don’t fall for recommended services that are designed to do just that.
Staying clear of unneeded services
Knowing the five most common car maintenance services you probably don’t need can save you a lot of money in the long run. No matter how friendly or pushy the lube shop service guy is, you may want to steer clear of the following:
- Fuel injector cleaning
This mostly unnecessary service is very popular and people fall for it all the time unless they know their vehicle is fine without it. Oil change shops plaster their waiting room walls with posters showing spray patterns of dirty and clean fuel injectors to lure you in. But, according to Kelley Blue Book, fuel injector cleaning is rarely necessary – if at all.
- Replacing the air filter
Chances are the lube shop technician will push for you to change the air filter. Keep track of when you changed it last and ask him to show you the filter, making sure it’s the one that came out of your car. You can tell at first glance if the air filter is dirty and needs replacement. According to fueleconomy.gov, changing out a dirty air filter may slightly improve performance, but it won’t impact your mileage.
- Throttle body cleaning
It’s not unusual for grit and grime to pass through your vehicle’s air filter and accumulate inside the throttle body. Since the throttle body allows air into the engine, if it gets too dirty, it may cause rough idle or poor acceleration. However, this service is best performed by a certified mechanic and not at an oil and lube shop.
- Frequent oil changes
New cars don’t require oil changes as frequently as they used to – every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever came first. In 2010, according to Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds, vehicles manufactured in the last 12 to 13 years can go as far as 10,000 miles between changes. Refer to your owner’s manual (not the lube shop technician) for the proper interval.
- Fluids and flushes
Most oil change and lube shops recommend fluid replacement, but also push for flushes of the system, such as the transmission or differential, to remove any residue the dirty fluid may leave behind. Although, over time these lubricants can degrade and lead to wear and tear of internal parts, check your owner’s manual for service intervals before agreeing to the fluid replacement. Furthermore, unless the lube shop is certified, you could void your vehicle’s extended warranty.
You have enough things to keep track of and worry about as a car owner, but paying too much for auto insurance shouldn’t be one of them. After all, South Carolina car insurance doesn’t have to be expensive.