A Few Automotive Tune-Up Tips

Take a look at these tune-up tips before getting your car serviced

This article on tune-up tips was triggered by my recent realization that a simple $20 oil change at the local quickie lube had ballooned to almost $100 because of all those extra services the technicians are so good at finding.

When I looked back on previous visits, I realized that this always seemed to happen. No matter how recently I’d had the car in the shop, no matter how recently I’d changed the fuel or air filter or had a major repair done, it always seemed that something more had to be done. Why?

Upsell that Sucker!

Honestly, I think that in most cases, the technicians aren’t trying to cheat you when they do this. However, they’re trained to upsell, and they’re good at it. The basis of this technique – which is standard in marketing – is that when someone comes to buy something from you, you try to sell them something extra.

Fair enough.

Add to this the fact that automobiles are so complicated that something’s almost always wrong with them, and our tendency to wait until we’re in a car repair shop to get things done, and most people end up spending a lot more than they intended when they came in to get that lube job.

Stay on Point

While some technicians do take advantage of the opportunity to gouge you mercilessly, to most it’s just an opportunity to make a little money by providing a service that genuinely needs to be taken care of. So when an earnest young mechanic shows you that filthy air filter, it probably could be changed.

The point is, if you didn’t intend to have it changed yet, or if you have a budget you need to stick to for this particular visit, you can’t waffle when they bring it to you. If you decide you want it done, fine; if not, tell them no in no uncertain terms.

The Dangers of Wavering

If you say yes to the air filter, expect to hear that your fuel filter is dirty, your cabin A/C filter is dirty, and that your oil filter really needs to be changed, too. That’s true… eventually. Here’s what they don’t tell you: a week after you install any kind of filter, it’ll look dirty. It’s the nature of the beast.

Just because it’s a little dirty doesn’t necessarily mean the performance is significantly degraded. So keep it in there until it’s time to replace it, based on a routine schedule of maintenance, or you’re wasting your resources.

There are better ways to spend your money — so take these tune-up tips to heart, and keep on truckin’.