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Recommended Maintenance

To me this chapter is the most important in the book.

So lets start out with the owner manual. My owners manual threatens to void my warranty if I do not perform the recommended service on time.

Well lets look at what is recommend. In my manual (yours may be different) it states that for normal driving an oil change is due every 3,000 miles or 3 months.

Then you keep reading and it says for fleet vehicles oil changes are needed every 4,500 miles or 6 months. What are they talking about with fleet vehicles?

I called the 800 number and asked for the official explanation, which is high mileage use or long trips equaling more than 9,000 miles a year would be considered fleet type use.

Well to me this is what normal driving is. So according to the manufacturer my vehicle should be serviced under the fleet maintenance schedule. Everybody I know puts more then 9,000 miles a year on his or her vehicle.

The national average for miles put on a single vehicle has risen from 10,000 miles in the to 15,000 miles a year in the to present day.

So most of the nation should be on the fleet schedule along with me. I added up the price difference between the 2 schedules in my own personal service manual.

Over a 75,000-mile 5-year period the price difference or savings by going with the fleet schedule was around $500.00 dollars by increasing the service intervals.

But even more important then the money was that this means less visits for service.

As we have learned every time you avoid a service appointment your avoiding scams and rip-offs overcharges and poorly done work. These items together are priceless over a five-year period.

What did the manufacture mean about voiding my warranty. Well I have seen this first hand.

The manufacturer will not honor the warranty if the vehicle was abused. Using the fleet schedule is not abuse what is recommended on my vehicle.

The dealer and manufacturer will have the burden of proof to claim neglect. This is very difficult and usually only happens under extreme neglect, like when the engine oil looks like tar from lack of oil changes.

Now this is important I am not saying to not service your vehicle regularly. I am saying do services only when it is needed. Car manuals are different for every vehicle.

Study your manual and how it relates to your driving conditions and stick to what is really recommended. I was changing my own personal oil way too much.

The point was driven home at my newest job. The government fleet I work for has 1,800 pieces of equipment. The cars and light trucks get their oil changed every 6 months or 4,500 miles. Services are almost never late due to a high tech notification system.

When the vehicle is due, it comes in for service! After a 5 year 100,000 mile study there were no engine failures in the entire fleet. To me this means 4,500 miles or 6 months is good for me also. Now on your vehicle I stress to study the owners manual and see what is best for you and your vehicle.

Vehicle manuals are not usually user friendly. The manufacturer probably does this on purpose.

A confused owner will most likely put their trust in the dealer to guide them in needed maintenance and repairs. This is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

The dealer will put you on the schedule with the most frequent service intervals and push you towards over servicing your vehicle. The maintenance section is usually toward the back of the manual.

I recommend reading this section four to five times or until it is completely understood. Do not be afraid to call the customer assistance line and ask questions.

The price for this little used information service was added to the price of the vehicle that you purchased. The customer assistance hot line is important to the manufacturer. Do to the fact they are trying to build brand loyalty and future sales by providing courteous friendly customer service.

Become an authority or expert on the required maintenance of your specific vehicle and know what is needed before you go in for service. When the service advisor starts throwing up-sell services at you and you shut him down with facts and knowledge you will change the shops attitude about selling you services you do not need.
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