Free Advice #1: Empower yourself with knowledge. Check your tires to know if you should listen when the car shop tells you to buy some. Know how often your transmission needs to be flushed before you go into a car place. Ask to see a filter before someone changes it, that way you can decide.
Free advice #2: Buy a Japanese car. If you have a car from the list on the left, you’ll probably have a spotless driveway for 150,000 miles
Excellent reliable vehicles Slightly less excellent, not quite as reliable vehicles
I know you American car fans hate me. Before you write me livid emails teeming with malice, let me explain. I am admittedly over-generalizing. These are merely unbiased observations of the 25ish cars that come through Grease Monkey every day. Most Ford’s that come in have bad radiator caps. A majority of Cadillac/Northstars have burned 2 quarts of oil in 3,000 miles. Generally Dodge’s (caravan and neons especially) have electrical problems after 100,000 miles. Almost all Jeeps leak oil, trans, and differential fluid after 45,000 miles.
In my time at Grease Monkey I have changed the differential fluid in one (1) Japanese car. They don’t break, they don’t have weird electrical issues. Most Hondas won’t leak oil ever, even after 200,000 miles. Toyota and Nissan trucks last forever. Granted, the way people drive vehicles makes a big difference. Please remember I was only stereotyping based on what I see everyday. I have no car allegiance.
Free advice #3: If you buy a truck or large SUV, realize that they cost more on the lot, they cost more at the gas pump, and they will take more oil to lubricate their big manly engines. If you play in the mountains in 4-wheel drive, you need to replace differential fluids that other cars don’t have. Trucks just cost a lot of money, so prepare yourself before you buy one. There is no way around it.
Free advice #4: If the shop down the road offers a safety inspection for $2, it is possible they will lie to you that something is broken and you HAVE to pay $75 TODAY to fix it. Tire places are notorious for this. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Free advice #5: You just spent $25,000 on a vehicle. 25,000. Three (3) zeros. Maybe it was only 12,000. Still five (5) digits. Why not treat it like the most precious thing you ever got in debt over? Don’t hammer your brakes. Don’t blow out your speakers. Come to a complete stop when going between reverse and drive. When things break budget so you can fix them. You are happy to pay $7 for a hamburger combo, why not be happy to pay 13.99 for a new air filter and keep your new $12,000 baby running smoothly.
1. *Conventional oil. Muscle car maniacs will tell you to use Valvoline or die. Some say Castrol, some say Penzoil, some say Mobil 1. Grease Monkey uses Phillips 66. Jiffy Lube uses Quaker State. Conventional oils are like shoes you buy at Payless or Walmart, they are cheap to make, and they do the job. Here in capitalist America oil manufacturers and everyone else makes the cheapest quickest products possible in large amounts--they are all the same until you get to high-end specialty products.
2. You can drive 4,000-4,500 ish miles on conventional oil (unless your car burns oil) if they aren’t in harsh conditions. I know your windshield sticker says 3,000 miles, that is good too. Don’t feel like a bad person if you go 1,000 over the mileage.
3. Oil lube shops are a lot like grocery stores. The prices are what they are. If you notice, there are a whole bunch of 22 year olds making minimum wage because OIL LUBES ARE NOT LUCRATIVE PLACES TO WORK. You might think they are trying to rip you off and sell you what you don’t need--it’s possible. For the most part they show you what is wrong with your car and are trying to save you from 3,000 dollar purchases by offering 200 or 50 dollar purchases. Would you ever think of asking the Young lady at Smith’s to knock .50 cents off your milk? If you tell the cashier at Footlocker you “forgot your coupon, could you just apply it anyway?” they would give a hardy laugh and say no. Oil lube shops shouldn’t be any different. Why should we knock 10$ off? You pay 4,000 dollars for a computer that will be outdated in 18 months. 35$ to keep your car running smooth is a smart idea.
4. When oil lube shops offer you synthetic oil, it is actually a better deal. It is better for your engine. You can drive 6-8,000 miles on it, instead of just 3,000. It’s like paying for two oil changes up front--except you only have to read awkward car or golf magazines once while you wait.
So, there it is. I know everybody has different opinions about car care, and here are some of mine.