Scheduled maintenance for your car: prudent or a ripoff?

Tenacious E

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Dec 4, 2001
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Brought my car in for scheduled maintenance at the 40K mile mark. They recommended the air filter, a cabin filter, and a multi-point check. I bought replacement tires through them, and the rotation is free, but they are charging me to balance the tires. All and all, I feel like I am getting financially raped. But, maybe this is worth it to keep the car running best in the long term. Thoughts of the all knowing HORT?
 

JWolf74

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Jan 22, 2012
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You should absolutely regularly change the air filter and cabin air filter. They're super easy to do yourself, though. The cabin air filter can be a little tricky but there's likely a YouTube video to show you how. Takes minutes. Save yourself the money.

Now things like coolant/transmission fluid flushes, I'm not sure how prudent those are.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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Sep 16, 2008
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I'm not sure I would be having them replace the air filters. Those are often easy to replace on your own. Plus a lot of times you don't need to replace them and they just say you do.

Not sure I would be having them do the multi-point check. No idea what that entails. . . I mean if they are just checking your fluid levels that's again something easy to do on your own.

With tires, I believe balancing the tires is a charge no matter where you get tires.
 

theiacowtipper

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Feb 17, 2004
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I do the maintenance program as recommended in the owners manual. My issue is when the dealer tacks on a bunch of stuff that the owners manual doesn’t recommend. The cabin filter is often one of those. Air filter as well.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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Sep 16, 2008
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You should absolutely regularly change the air filter and cabin air filter. They're super easy to do yourself, though. The cabin air filter can be a little tricky but there's likely a YouTube video to show you how. Takes minutes. Save yourself the money.

Now things like coolant/transmission fluid flushes, I'm not sure how prudent those are.

I've never had them done in my life and I've never had a transmission or radiator stop working.
 

Joes Place

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Aug 28, 2003
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No need to do maintenance on any car.

Just ride it out and buy a new one when it quits running...



FWIW, you can open up something called your "Owner's Manual" and identify what scheduled maintenance items are recommended. Stuff like air filters, etc are pretty cheap and simple things you can do yourself. Shop around for tires, because you'll find mfr rebates pretty regularly, and Costco is hard to beat for tire prices on good quality ones
 

JupiterHawk

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Jan 6, 2005
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A lot of that stuff you can do DIY and have good instructions on youtube. I change my own oil and use synthetic and long-lasting filters so only have to change twice a year. Costs only 30 bucks per car. Most filters should be fairly easy for the most part. Transmissions can be much more challenging such as sealed transmissions but you probably can wait until 80k. It's a nice hobby and actually saves time waiting at a dealership and having to go through their bullshit.
 

JWolf74

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Jan 22, 2012
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In college I didn't have the tools to change my own oil so I had it done at the Ford dealer in IC. I had bought an air filter and it was sitting in the back seat for me to change later. They saw it and put it in without asking... Then charged me $30 for what took literally 30 seconds. I kindly told them to piss off.
 

Joes Place

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You should absolutely regularly change the air filter and cabin air filter. They're super easy to do yourself, though. The cabin air filter can be a little tricky but there's likely a YouTube video to show you how. Takes minutes. Save yourself the money.

Now things like coolant/transmission fluid flushes, I'm not sure how prudent those are.

Coolant/transmission "flushes" may be a scam

But having them checked and changed per the manual recommendations is a good idea.
Fluids/oils do break down over time and require changing. If you keep your coolant filled with the proper coolant/water ratio, it'll last a long time.

You should really have most all of the vehicle fluids checked at least once a year, and most are easy to do yourself.
 

Tenacious E

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Dec 4, 2001
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No need to do maintenance on any car.

Just ride it out and buy a new one when it quits running...



FWIW, you can open up something called your "Owner's Manual" and identify what scheduled maintenance items are recommended. Stuff like air filters, etc are pretty cheap and simple things you can do yourself. Shop around for tires, because you'll find mfr rebates pretty regularly, and Costco is hard to beat for tire prices on good quality ones
I gave you like despite your condescension.
 
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Joes Place

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A lot of that stuff you can do DIY and have good instructions on youtube. I change my own oil and use synthetic and long-lasting filters so only have to change twice a year. Costs only 30 bucks per car. Most filters should be fairly easy for the most part. Transmissions can be much more challenging such as sealed transmissions but you probably can wait until 80k. It's a nice hobby and actually saves time waiting at a dealership and having to go through their bullshit.
Learning to perform basic maintenance actually saves you a lot of time in coordinating appointments and waiting, etc.

And it's a money saver, to boot.
 

Tenacious E

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I'm not sure I would be having them replace the air filters. Those are often easy to replace on your own. Plus a lot of times you don't need to replace them and they just say you do.

Not sure I would be having them do the multi-point check. No idea what that entails. . . I mean if they are just checking your fluid levels that's again something easy to do on your own.

With tires, I believe balancing the tires is a charge no matter where you get tires.
I think they check everything like spark plugs and all of that. I know cars require maintenance, I just feel like I'm getting bent over.
 

VodkaSam

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A lot of that stuff you can do DIY and have good instructions on youtube. I change my own oil and use synthetic and long-lasting filters so only have to change twice a year. Costs only 30 bucks per car. Most filters should be fairly easy for the most part. Transmissions can be much more challenging such as sealed transmissions but you probably can wait until 80k. It's a nice hobby and actually saves time waiting at a dealership and having to go through their bullshit.
I just retired and thinking I may start doing my own oil changes as well since I have the time.

Question - Do places like Jiffy Lube and other oil change places still take your used oil at no charge? They used to, but it’s been a couple decades since I’ve changed my own oil and filter, so wasn’t sure.
 

VodkaSam

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Man I’m glad I’m not a Poor.
I just buy a new car when I hit 45k miles.
Throw Away Make It Rain GIF
 

Tenacious E

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Spark plugs shouldn't need to be replaced at 40,000 miles.

Yeah they are just looking for shit to charge you for.
It is a BMW "stealership" so it wouldn't surprise me. I get I didn't choose the cheapest car to maintain but I also don't want to be stupid, which it sounds like I'm being.
 
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Finance85

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Oct 22, 2003
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I do all the maintenance on my Jeep, because it's older, and because everything is pretty accessible. I have a relatively new car, and I don't do anything other than air filters, wiper blades, and tires on it because nothing is accessible. First of all it's very low to the ground, and even changing the oil requires removal of a skid plate. If I did change the oil, I'd have to get a computer reset for that.
 
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It is a BMW "stealership" so it wouldn't surprise me. I get I didn't choose the cheapest car to maintain but I also don't want to be stupid, which it sounds like I'm being.
I found a reputable non-dealer import place to work on the M4.

It’s amazing how much cheaper it is. Can be hard to find a legit non-dealer shop for bimmers though. If in QC area, highly recommend North Brady Imports.
 

Joes Place

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I think they check everything like spark plugs and all of that.
They generally don't; they'll just change them out at the recommended interval.

Also, O2 sensors usually need to be replaced between 80k and 100k miles or so.
If you know something is scheduled for replacement, you can often buy OEM parts online for 50-60% of shop prices, toss them in the trunk and ask them to use them.

They mostly don't care, because having to re-stock stuff is a cost for them, which is why you pay a 15% restocking fee on their parts - and if it's something they don't stock in house, you'll pay a bunch for same-day courier delivery of the parts.

You can't really do this with stuff that wears out and their techs find the bad parts, but you can usually save a lot of money on scheduled replacements and things you know require repair/replacement. Just don't get cheap knock-off stuff that may not work, or can cause damage, because if you hand them a non-OEM or reputable part and they use it, they're not going to guarantee/warranty any fix they do with it.

My old 3-series went thru 2 radiators, and when I saw the small leak on radiator #2, I bought one for $185 (OEM, on BavAuto) and had it shipped UPS ground. Same part from the dealer/shop was $450-500 because they'd have to source it same-day or overnight.
 
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Joes Place

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I found a reputable non-dealer import place to work on the M4.

It’s amazing how much cheaper it is. Can be hard to find a legit non-dealer shop for bimmers though. If in QC area, highly recommend North Brady Imports.
+1

I serviced my 325i at local independent shops once the dealer warranty ran out.

GermanAutoWerksStat in San Diego. Bimmerhaus in Broomfield CO.

Way better service than dealers. Bimmerhaus is similar hourly mechanic rates, but they know the vehicles inside/out and I think better trained than some of the dealer guys.

Only place I've ever found that has better dealer service is Ralph Schomp MINI in Littleton. Extremely well run operation and amazingly well-priced (even though I only went there when under warranty, listed prices on my invoices for service were quite good).
 

Joes Place

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I do all the maintenance on my Jeep, because it's older, and because everything is pretty accessible. I have a relatively new car, and I don't do anything other than air filters, wiper blades, and tires on it because nothing is accessible. First of all it's very low to the ground, and even changing the oil requires removal of a skid plate. If I did change the oil, I'd have to get a computer reset for that.

You might be able to get a bluetooth OBD2 reader to do that.

I got a Lemur BlueDriver when they first came out (very cheap at the time). Handy for engine codes and resets. I think they were like $30 when they first offered them. More like $100 now I think
 

VodkaSam

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You can't really do this with stuff that wears out and their techs find the bad parts, but you can usually save a lot of money on scheduled replacements and things you know require repair/replacement. Just don't get cheap knock-off stuff that may not work, or can cause damage, because if you hand them a non-OEM or reputable part and they use it, they're not going to guarantee/warranty any fix they do with it.
.
You are so right about finding things online and doing it yourself. A couple years ago I needed a part in my retractable mirror replaced on my F-150. The Ford Dealership wanted $700 for parts and labor. Instead I found the part online from their quote sheet the dealer gave me and did it myself. Took me maybe 10 minutes of my time and I got the OEM part online for about $100. Saved $600.
 

TJ8869

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Your car has 40K miles on it and you’re already rotating your second set of tires?
 

JupiterHawk

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Jan 6, 2005
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Jupiter, FL
I just retired and thinking I may start doing my own oil changes as well since I have the time.

Question - Do places like Jiffy Lube and other oil change places still take your used oil at no charge? They used to, but it’s been a couple decades since I’ve changed my own oil and filter, so wasn’t sure.
I am not sure about jiffy lube but I know most auto part places that sell oil will have a station to dump the old oil in. Here we have a recycling center where they have stations for motor oil and cooking oil you can dump in.

As far as DIY - you can buy race ramps to drive your car up. Or a nice floor jack with a couple of jack stands.
 

Tenacious E

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Your car has 40K miles on it and you’re already rotating your second set of tires?
Don't get me started on that. The tires wore out criminally fast, at 30K miles, and they weren't cheap. Will certainly be going a different direction once these wear out.
 
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VodkaSam

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A lot of that stuff you can do DIY and have good instructions on youtube. I change my own oil and use synthetic and long-lasting filters so only have to change twice a year. Costs only 30 bucks per car. Most filters should be fairly easy for the most part. Transmissions can be much more challenging such as sealed transmissions but you probably can wait until 80k. It's a nice hobby and actually saves time waiting at a dealership and having to go through their bullshit.
women GIF
 

Hawk_4shur

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Jan 2, 2009
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I've purchased cars at same dealership for 18 years, and they do all the maintenance work. I trust them.
 

bagdropper

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It is a BMW "stealership" so it wouldn't surprise me. I get I didn't choose the cheapest car to maintain but I also don't want to be stupid, which it sounds like I'm being.

I highly recommend given it is a BMW that you follow the maintenance. This is coming from a 2x current BMW owner.

One thing I'd insist on you doing is if for example if the OM states oil is good for 15k miles before a change, do it in 5, and ONLY use verified BMW LL01 oil at the correct viscosity. Don't take it to no damn Jiffy Lube - take it to someone who you know for a fact will use the required oil. This is important for the CVV (PCV) system - the high oil pressures build up a yellowish scum on every passage that oil flows through, clogging them up. Then condensation can build up to where if that "water" freezes, that means your oil won't flow and you'll either blow a cylinder head gasket...or worse.

The more frequent oil changes and using the correct oil/filters help prevent that from occurring. DON'T go cheap.

BMW's leak fluids, all of 'em do. Any fluid a vehicle can have, sooner or later it's gonna leak. Their oiling systems and coolant systems are notoriously weak. The checkups are important to find these leaks before they cause true damage to the vehicle.

And BTW, there is no such thing as "lifetime" with any fluid. ATF is a prime example.


And lastly, always use OEM parts. NEVER trust aftermarket things like radiators/hoses/gaskets/water pumps etc. The tolerances just aren't up to spec on most items.
 

Hawgk

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Aug 8, 2013
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Coolant/transmission "flushes" may be a scam

But having them checked and changed per the manual recommendations is a good idea.
Fluids/oils do break down over time and require changing. If you keep your coolant filled with the proper coolant/water ratio, it'll last a long time.

You should really have most all of the vehicle fluids checked at least once a year, and most are easy to do yourself.
This. Follow the owners manual. Stealerships and some shops will invent their own “scheduled maintenance” that has all sorts of unnecessary work, so don’t listen to them. Cross off and date the scheduled maintenance in your owners manual as it is performed. Do the air filters yourself too. They’ll bend you over and enter you dry on those air filters for such a simple task.
 
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Joes Place

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This. Follow the owners manual. Stealerships and some shops will invent their own “scheduled maintenance” that has all sorts of unnecessary work, so don’t listen to them. Cross off and date the scheduled maintenance in your owners manual as it is performed. Do the air filters yourself too. They’ll bend you over and enter you dry on those air filters for such a simple task.

Or....just make your own XL spreadsheet based on the manual.
Check that file every 3 months on your mileage and check the things off as you hit the marks.

:)
 
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Finance85

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Oct 22, 2003
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It is a BMW "stealership" so it wouldn't surprise me. I get I didn't choose the cheapest car to maintain but I also don't want to be stupid, which it sounds like I'm being.
As it happens, I'm very good friends with a service manager at a BMW dealership. There are a lot of things that are easy to maintain on most cars that require a ton of extra work to maintain on a BMW, i.e., valve cover gasket.

If I had a BMW, I'd find a repair shop that specializes in imports to do most of the work.
 
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JWolf74

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Jan 22, 2012
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I just retired and thinking I may start doing my own oil changes as well since I have the time.

Question - Do places like Jiffy Lube and other oil change places still take your used oil at no charge? They used to, but it’s been a couple decades since I’ve changed my own oil and filter, so wasn’t sure.
You can take your used oil to any auto parts store. It's free to drop off.
 

Tenacious E

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one of the great life lessons I learned from my Dad was "Either make enough money to pay someone else to do it, or learn how to the hard way. "

I'm 50 and have never changed my own oil...
I'm pretty much in the same boat, but we are going through a house reno right now, a kid is heading off to college next year, etc. I feel like Steve Martin in the Father of the Bride, and am growing tired of people sticking their hands in my pocket.