Author Topic: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?  (Read 3385 times)

Psychstache

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How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« on: November 08, 2014, 11:03:12 AM »
I have a good handle on how to deal with most other issues (financial products, computers), but my car is one area I feel like I can easily get taken in on.

Specific Question: My 2006 Corolla just cleared the 100K mark. At an oil change a few weeks ago, I got a recommendation to get service for power steering and transmission fluids. I said I would look into it and consider it next trip, but this is the kind of thing that gives me analysis paralysis. Any thoughts on these services?

General Question: Do you have a resource of guideline about how to handle car maintenance? I never know where to look/how to learn about what need to consider when service is recommended? Please skip on the advice to find a mechanic you trust. The number of people I trust can be counted on one hand and none of them people who are incentivized to stretch the truth lie to me for their own financial gain.

Thanks!

Future Lazy

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2014, 11:09:11 AM »
The DH and I recently decided to make a Car Fund savings account. We own a 2001 PT Cruiser with far over 100k miles on it that we purchased used. We looked at how much the car cost to purchase, and how much we had put into the car over the 3 years that we've owned it. Adding it all up and dividing by the number of months of car ownership, we came to find it costs us about $206/mo to own and maintain the car.

(Purchase price + All repair and maint costs over entire ownership of car)/Total Months of Ownership = Cost Per Month

From there, the answer is simple. We put $206 in a savings account each month, and then when there is a breakdown or another issue, the money from there can go toward the repair etc. Then rerun the equation and adjust the monthly car savings as needed.

jawisco

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2014, 11:14:45 AM »
If your car is automatic transmission, I would get the fluid changed after 100K.  I am not sure why you would need to get power steering fluid changed.

If you want good advice, you could always go on the toyota enthusiast forum and ask for help there - lots of knowledgeable folks there...


surfhb

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2014, 11:21:34 AM »
Both are simple to do.   Getting a car manual of eBay is a good choice too.

http://youtu.be/EGQzo9-5LZA

http://youtu.be/Jnqgw2LbzBg

jennifers

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2014, 11:39:08 AM »
I think the recommended maintenance for most cars is listed in the owners manual if you still have that. 

For the most part my family just follows what the owners manual says.

Dee18

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2014, 11:57:12 AM »
For maintenance do what the owners manual says, not what someone recommends.  Beware of things like "100,000 mile maintenance special" at the dealer.  My Honda dealer charges a huge amount for this and includes easy/unnecessary things like greasing door hinges (rarely needed in the south for a car kept in a garage at home and parking deck at work).  Only pay for what you need.  Consider doing a few things yourself.  For example, I saved money by changing my cabin filter (takes 5 minutes, no tools, no mess, in my Honda).  When I need a part replaced I shop around.  Last month I had to replace an O2 sensor.  Dealer quoted $  400.  I bought the part for 60 and paid a mechanic 70 to install it.  I just think of it as shopping, not as car repair,and that makes it seem easier.  :)

forummm

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2014, 01:04:41 PM »
Just do what the manufacturer maintenance schedule advises. If the mechanic points out something (like your fluid is extra dirty) then you can go online and see objective advice about that. Another idea is to ask another expert who will not be getting the sale for that service. For example, DW ran into a curb and wrecked the tire/wheel/hubcap. The dealer recommended alignment. I asked the tire shop what they recommended (they don't do alignment) and they said it was a good idea to protect the tires after that kind of an incident, which was likely to have caused a problem (and it turns out alignment was needed).

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2014, 01:19:38 PM »
When your power steering fluid is low it will make an awful noise when you turn on the car and turn the wheel. A quart of fluid is like $7 and it is super easy to add. We used to have a big dually and I had to climb up on the bumper to pour it in. But, if I can do it, so can you!

Woodshark

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Re: How do you decide what to do about car maintenance?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2014, 02:50:13 PM »
My 1998 minivan has  never had the power steering or brakes flushed. 16 years later they both are fine. Now the auto transmission is another thing all together. I've had it flushed twice. Both times cost around $125. My model is known for premature failure of the transmission so I considered this a must-do item.  It is cheap maintenance considering the cost of a new tranny.