In all of marketing right now you hear the term “Back to Basics” or “Back to School Basics” or something about narrowing down things to what you really “need” (need being relative). Automotive Repair can be one of those purchases that is difficult to determine what is really basic or necessary. There are so many confusing messages out there when it comes to Auto Repair and what is basic or common or needed and what is “fluff” or “up-sale” or “dishonest”. If you are like me, not a mechanic and dependent on what your mechanic or shop tells you, then this question is even more difficult to answer.
I think a lot of it depends on trust and mutual respect. There is a balance between the shop owner/manager and customer that has to be present. This balance comes from the realization that you both need each other. You as the customer, more often than not, are not going to fix your own vehicle. The shop owner/manager needs you and your business to keep him IN business. I realize that for the customer there are many choices available out there for automotive repair. However finding someone with whom there is a mutual respect is not easy. Also finding a shop with a good price and fit is also with that respect is even harder. That being said, when you do find the right shop rely on it for the answer to the “Basics” question. A good shop will give you good advice and information. Their livelyhood depends on it!
The Basics can mean different things to different people but I think that in auto repair there are a few basics that we can agree on. The first is routine oil and filter changes. These keep our car running at optimum performance and that helps with gas mileage and avoiding costly repairs. The second is tires and brakes. We need both of these routinely checked and repaired to be safe. Tires rotated and properly inflated help to maintain optimum gas mileage and keep you safe in diverse weather conditions. Another basic is truly basic. It is checking your fluid levels, like power steering, coolant etc. These checks help to make sure that major damage doesn’t take place and cost you more. One basic that ofter gets overlooked is wipers. Wiper blades realistically need to be changed every year. Changing weather from hot to cold cause the rubber on the blades to harden and crack and then their performance is compromised. Compromised wiper performance means compromised vision which can lead to accidents.
I can tell you that I do not like to spend my money on auto repair but I would rather spend it on an oil change than engine over-haul.