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How Should I maintain my Car or Truck?

Finding the Auto Repair shop worth going to

The most important aspect of vehicle maintenance is to have a competent and honest repair shop and a mechanic you can trust. In any area there is one shop, if you are lucky two. Read the other pages of this website, there are lots of tips on finding that shop. Find a shop before you need one, this is crucial! When you have an acute vehicle problem, that is when you are most vulnerable.

There are four levels to a repair facility :

If any one of these levels are not 100% for professional service, the customer experience will be less than adequate.

There are four types of repair facilities:

  1. The Automobile Dealership - The focus here is the sale of vehicles, and parts. The repair of vehicles is considered a bother. They have a service department, because the manufacturer demands one.

  2. The mass merchandisers - The focus here is profit. These are the franchises, they hire the guys who can 'stick and move', turn hours, make a quick buck.

  3. The Quick service shop - The focus here is sell, sell, sell. These are the quick oil change places. The worker turnover here is daily, this is as much a profession as flipping hamburger.

  4. The locally owned Independent shop. - The focus here is fixing cars, the goal is to keep your vehicle going as long as possible, and you coming back. Here is your best chance of getting good work done.

The life Phases of a vehicle

For the first 100 thousand (100,000) miles of a vehicle's life things happen as they would to a person, that is a 50 year old man and a 50,000 mile old vehicle have roughly the same needs. They both should be seen yearly by a professional, fluids start leaking unexpectedly, joints (ball joints tie rod ends), start to creak and get stiff. 100 (100,000 miles) is a big milestone and maybe close to the end. With both people and vehicles, if they have been given good care, old age is easier and life is better. The difference is that with vehicles, anything can be fixed! Over 100,000 miles, the critical aspects for a vehicle are whether it has been in an accident and its 'genetics' and heritage. Accidents for a vehicle are like all the broken bones suffered by Evil Knievel, in old age there is lots of stuff that stop working. A vehicle's heritage is the country it was manufactured in, who built it and how much it cost. Vehicles made in England, will cost a lot to repair in old age, cheap vehicles are not worth repairing in old age. German vehicles are made to be rebuilt, and rebuilt and rebuilt. There is no upper age limit for certain vehicles, maintained properly their entire life.

What do I need to do?

First finish this statement (be honest) : "I am going to keep this vehicle for _____ ."

If you said "...until the lease is over."

If you said "...for 100,000 miles (or more)."

When a vehicle first comes to P.A.T., and it has 75,000 miles or more, it takes 12 - 18 months of visits to get all the neglected repairs, and unprofessional mis-repairs straightened out. Common Example: many cars have a 'belly pan' under the engine. This is a plastic under-cover which aids in fuel economy by providing a smooth air flow under the car. These belly pans typically have 4 to 8 fasteners hooking it to the vehicle. Quick oil change workers, simply rip these belly pans off. We are always repairing and reattaching them.
The biggest cause of 'New Car Fever' are all the little things on a vehicle that are broken. The seat doesn't slide easily, the remote lock doesn't work right, the mirrors are faded and on, and on. Your vehicle can drive into it's 300,000 mile age IF you maintain it well, keep the little things fixed (P.A.T. can do that for you) and most important, bring it to P.A.T. regularly.