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Question DetailsAsked on 6/8/2011

Baby, you can fix my car...

... or can you? Do you tend to your own maintenance needs (oil changes, etc.), or do you leave everything to the folks in the garage?

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9 Answers


I used to do minor maintenance to my vehicles (oil changes, starters, plugs, etc), but with newer cars, you just can't do it.

Answered 9 years ago by fuzzybunnies


I leave it to the garage. I know nothing about cars. But then again, I always feel like they are telling me I need things that I don't. Just today when I took it in for an oil change they told me I needed my tires rotated. I figured, what the heck, I'm going on a trip this weekend anyway and it probably can't hurt. Even though it couldn't hurt the car, was it really worth the $20? I have no idea about these things.

Answered 9 years ago by Sarah


One thing that I do it go to the same place every time to get my oil changed. Most of these places keep your maintenance history in their database and the programs give an "alert" to the attendant to mention that you might want to have your tires rotated (every 6k miles), your transmission fluid changed (every 24k miles), differential fluid (once every couple years), fuel filters (24k miles), air filters (should be checked at every oil change), etc. Personally, there's just too many things to keep track of w/ everything else going on, so I just found a place w/ a bunch of guys I could trust and take it to them every time.

Answered 9 years ago by fuzzybunnies


For small stuff, like oil changes, it's not worth the time, hassle and dirt to do it myself. My time is usually more valuable than the money. But if it's something medium in price and skill level, like a brake pad change or a new battery, I'll do it every time (if I know how). Plus there's that macho sense of accomplishment from the DIY. For major repairs, I feel it's always best to take it into a shop and have the work guaranteed/warrantied.

I recommend to anyone who buys an older vehicle and is interested in doing some repairs get a shop instruction manual specific to your vehicle (Haynes, ususally about $15, is the most easily understood, Chiltons is better for advanced mechanics). Knowing your way around your own car and its repairs can save you money by doing it yourself but it also imparts you with a little more authority and knowledge when you do take into the shop.

Answered 9 years ago by Helper Monkey 5000


Hi Sarah,

Tire rotation is always a good idea. However, a maintenance plan will allow you to get optimum tread life with an appropriate rotation schedule. I would suggest reviewing the tire / car manufacturer's recommendations.

Good luck on your weekend trip !

Answered 9 years ago by mickc


test first posting...

I used to work on my car when I was young, then I didn't for years. But now I have a German sports car that's actually pretty straight forward to work on. I find it intellectually challenging and a stress relief from the normal office life working on the car. There's a very active online community with tons of information and help available online. Using those resources, I've done things I'd never thought I could do before: replaced brake pads & rotors, flushed the brake fluid, installed a short shifter, replaced the center console, upgraded the cockpit trim, installed a windstop, oil & filter changes, upgraded light assemblies, installed spinlocks and much more. It's very satisfying to complete a job, know that it's done right and also save a ton of money in the process.


Answered 9 years ago by betona


I'm lucky I know where to put the gas.

Answered 9 years ago by TheDecider


Is that the blue stuff or the brown stuff? [*-)]

Answered 9 years ago by fuzzybunnies


The best place to find out when your car is due for belts, hoses, tires, fluids, transmission service, etc. is to look at the owner's manual for routine maintenance. It tells you what the manufacturer recommends, (chevy, ford) and they know best, and if you are advised by a shop that you need something, you will know before they tell you. Knowledge is power and if you follow your maintenance schedule, your car will most likely last many years and will not leave you stranded. Engines and transmissions don't just fail, something around the engine or transmission fails, like a water pump or belt or pulley or burned fluid from not being changed regularly. If your schedule calls for the transmission to be serviced, then get it done - otherwise - the fluid will burn and the engine or transmission will fail. The owners manual is your best DIY tool to care for your car. These days, the manufacturers and EPA don't want people doing too many DIY repairs due to the complexity of the data and the tools required to diagnose correctly. Cars are really just computers these days, however they still have mechanical components, so a good technician will know computers and mechanics. The best place to find a good mechanic is at National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, also known as ASE or NIASE. The mechanics who are ASE certified have Proven their competence via testing. These technicians have paid money out of their own pockets to test and become certified by an independant body. If the technician passes the competency test, he receives a certificate good for 5 years, after that they have to retest. Look for an Automotive Master Technician which indicates he has passed all 9 tests (brakes, air conditioning, suspension, general repair, advanced repair, diesel, etc) and is certified in the whole vehicle. An ASE Blue Seal of Excellence recognized shop indicates a Master Tech is employed there.


Answered 9 years ago by meadauto

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