Whenever a car mechanic suggests a repair, it can be difficult to know whether it’s necessary. Although some work is essential for maintaining your car’s life, other repair jobs aren’t essential.
Oil change every 3,000 miles
If your car is less than fifteen years old, you don’t need an oil change every 3,000 miles. Newer engines can go 5,000 to 10,000 before they need it.
Your mechanic might recommend flushing your coolant, but think twice unless you live in an extremely dusty environment. Flushing could damage the seals, causing future leaks. Refresh your coolant now and then. You can drain and replace the coolant yourself.
Replacing all four tires at once
If you get a flat in one tire, should you replace the others as well? Some mechanics will tell you to replace all four or else you’ll disrupt the balance, which isn’t true. If your left front tire is flat and your right front tire has tread worn to less than 75 percent, go ahead and replace the pair.
Cabin air filter
The cabin air filter enhances the interior air quality, and you should get a new one yearly. Don’t let a mechanic charge you to replace it; do it yourself. Double-check that you buy the right one for your car’s make and model.
Properly aligning your front-end is necessary to maintain even wear on your tires. However, you won’t get out of alignment every time you hit a bump. If your steering wheel feels like it’s pulling in one direction, look into an adjustment.
Fuel injector cleaning
Your fuel injectors probably don’t gum up as often as your mechanic might tell you, especially if you drive a newer car. To keep grime from accumulating, use a higher grade of fuel every few times you fill up at the pump. You can also pour a bottle of fuel injector cleaner into your tank before filling up; do this after each oil change.
If a mechanic tells you your car is due for a lube job, don’t just fork over your money. Unless you drive a full-size pickup, your vehicle’s chassis probably has a sealed system that’s lubricated. Check your owner’s manual to be sure.
Unless your car is older than 20 years, you probably don’t need regular tune-ups. Modern cars have computers that make needed adjustments to boost engine function. However, a tune-up might be necessary if you suspect your engine’s not running as it should.
Tire balance and rotation
You always need to have new tires balanced when you install them. If you have front-wheel drive, you should rotate every 5,000 to 6,000 miles because the front tires wear out twice as quickly as the rear ones. Otherwise, don’t pay for the job unless you have steering problems. Try to find a mechanic that provides free balance and rotation with every oil change.