By Brian England
Throughout the history of auto repair, a lot of importance has been placed on getting an oil change every 3000 miles. Quick Lube shops are now prevalent and accepted in the industry, which makes getting an oil change convenient. However, here is the big question: Is getting oil service on your car every 3000 miles all the preventive car maintenance you need?
The answer is a resounding NO. A simple check of your vehicle’s service manual recommendations versus the services offered at a quick lube shop is all the evidence you need to learn that the services offered by your local quick lube is not a true preventive car maintenance program. To get the level of care your car needs to keep it running smoothly and efficiently, you need the services of a certified auto repair shop. Chances are, even if you are getting other things checked and fluids topped off at a quick oil and lube place, some important safety items are likely being overlooked.
Most quick lube places offer an oil service package that includes an oil & filter change, a check of critical fluids (with a top off) and a few other items. There are some critical systems that need to be checked frequently and thoroughly that are not usually included on the quick lube check list. Here are the major ones:
- Brakes – A critical safety system on your car, most quick lube shops simply check the fluid level. However, in addition to checking the fluid level at regular intervals, your brake pads and discs, lining and drums, brake lines, parking brakes, front and rear axle boots, and axle shaft joints need to be inspected.
- Tires – Some quick lubes check your tire pressures, but what about the actual tires. The condition of the tires needs to be inspected at least annually, not just the tread thickness, but age as well has rotating the tires and inspecting the whole contact surface and the walls of the tire. Also, your tires should be rotated regularly. This is not a part of the standard quick lube oil change service.
- Steering and Suspension – Most manufacturers recommend that the steering and suspension be checked at regular intervals – particularly if your vehicle is used under severe driving conditions. To check the steering, there must be a road test. When was the last time your quick lube shop took your vehicle out for a road test?
Be sure your car is getting the right level of care at the right service intervals. It’s critical for your safety!