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How to deal with car service centers effectively

A car service center is like what hospitals are to us and what people often tend to ignore is the servicing cost a car carries after its purchase. Most of us are not car mechanics, maybe we love reading about cars but we don’t know what exactly goes inside a car at the time of its servicing. We do have car service checklist but generally, we lack an understanding towards everything inside the hood that technically runs a car. So in the article today we are going to educate you about some simple things you need to know about car servicing.

Does car service cost varies from company to company?

Your car’s service bills depend significantly on the kind of brand you choose to live with. If you decide to get a German or any European brand such as a Volkswagen or a Skoda, keep your heart strong you’ll need it.

While choosing a Japanese maker such as Honda or Suzuki will justify everything written on the bill summary to an extent. So you can actually save time and resource by wisely choosing a correct maker which suits your personal lifestyle and budget.

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Should I refer to the car manual before servicing?

Most of the cars irrespective of their make or models run smooth in their initial years. The first couple of years are the only ones which generally do not demand much from the pocket but it’s the later stage that tests a car of what it is made of. Make sure to read the car’s manual very carefully because most of the details regarding servicing are clearly mentioned there. The car manual has all the important details regarding the maintenance, servicing, and usage of the vehicle.

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Which car parts often need replacements and which don’t?

So in case you are visiting the service center in the first 5,000kms to 10,000kms, your car should only need the regular engine oil and oil filter replacement. While if the mechanic is unnecessarily replacing the air filter, fuel filter or spark plugs (in the case of a petrol engine) you can tell it’s not necessary.

Air filters only need replacements in the later stage. All you need to do is to make sure it’s properly cleaned at the servicing and you won’t need to replace the air filter, not at least till 30,000kms.

While fuel filters and spark plugs remain decently functional till 20,000kms and 30,000kms respectively. Automatic cars demand more brake pad replacements than manual cars and the simple reason being more brake application.

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What about the unnecessary add-ons?

It happens a lot, and it is true. Automakers tend to make good profits from the after sales services they provide. The extra oil additive in the bill summary may not always be required. In fact, such small hidden things you find added in the bill sheet, of which there is no logical justification are just their way of officially burning a hole in customer’s pocket. If there is no issue raised for the same it keeps on repeating and over a long term period you’ve already lost a fortune, just because you didn’t pay attention.

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Are car labor charges negotiable?

If hefty parts charges were not enough, the service dealer may slap you with horrendous labor costs but there is a catch. You can in fact bargain in terms of labor charges and if you maintain a healthy relationship with the service dealerships you can avail up to 50% discounts on the labor.

If there is a major work done on the engine or any other part, labor cost can prove to be a bummer but your negotiation skills can surely help you out in this situation.

Note: Two cars, even from the same make and model can react differently depending on the usage and hence servicing cost may differ accordingly.  

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Few tips on car maintenance:

They say prevention is better than cure and it’s true if you take care of your car in the garage, it will take care of you out there on the road. It might not be possible for you to become a good car mechanic yourself, but you can still take care of your car, just follow the following instructions and you are good to go.

  • Always warm up the engine before moving and the reason being it keeps the car’s power mill healthy.
  • Keep the radiator fins clean and pay attention to the coolant level in the car. Doing this will make sure that the cooling system remains functional and effective. A car needs total coolant flush and change about every 20,000kms.
  • The tire treads are of vital importance and why is that? It is because it’s only the tires which are a single point of contact of a car with the road. If tires are not well maintained they may ditch you at high speeds and result in an unexpected event.
  • Always check that the car doesn’t need an urgent wheel alignment. If so then make sure it is the first thing you do as soon as possible.
  • Keep a check on tire pressures and inflate tires with Nitrogen gas as it keeps the tire temperature down during burning sunny days.
  • Keep a tap on the engine oil level and color. Use the oil dip stick to regularly monitor the engine oil. If the level is low, add some oil. If the oil color is white or greenish, coolant is leaking into the oil chamber and you need to visit the service center soon.
  • If there is a change in the braking power of the car there is a possibility that the car might be needing brake pad replacement. A car needs this replacement every 15,000kms to 20,000kms.
  • The emission of the car reveals the health status of the engine, make sure to keep a tap on it. The emission should not be white or dark, technically you should be able to see it. If it’s not transparent, then there is something going on in the engine that needs to be addressed. Also, there shouldn’t be any black sluggish gel type extract on the exhaust opening because it denotes the problems with the engine.
  • And do not forget, keep your car shining as it deserves to be kept like that.
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