So, my wonderful girlfriend recently got out of the Navy after 14 years of service and went to work in the contracting world. That, combined with our constant need to transport various children and/or furry things, and/or family members made us realize that a 2 door Honda Accord and a Mini Cooper were not necessarily the optimum vehicles for a family with 3 dogs and a 6 year old that loves sports. So, we decided to shop for a new vehicle.
Now, that might sound like a relatively straight-forward process, but let me assure you, IT ISN’T!! We researched exhaustively to find the perfect vehicle. First, we planned on buying slightly used, but as we shopped, we realized that in the current market we just weren’t saving much money by going that route. So we bought new.
This is where the subject of this blog comes in. Steeped as I am in automotive lore and knowledge, I knew that I’d be offered things I didn’t need. The thing that astonished me was how many things I was offerred that NOBODY needs. I was also surprised at the things that were told to me that were flat out untrue, and in some cases, illegal!
You see, there is a law called the “Right to repair” act, that basically states that new car dealers cannot block ANYONE out of the repair business. Otherwise, they would have an instant monopoly on the repair market. As we all know, monopolies are really, really bad for consumers. When we bought our new CRV we were told that unless we used “HONDA” name brand oil, we’d void the warranty! This is categorically untrue. Motor oil is standardized, and is regulated. As long as the oil has the API logo on it, that oil is safe for use in your car. Now, there are some exceptions like turbocharged engines, and diesel engines, and there are some oils that are better than others. Now the dealers realy, really want you to come in for all of your service needs so that they can sell you very high profit maintenance services when the time comes. Frequently, those services include items that the FACTORY doesn’t mention- they are DEALER recommendations. Keep in mind your warranty is a FACTORY warranty so it is what they say, not what the dealership says, that matters. This information can be found in your owners manual. Here is the link to a document from the Federal Trade commission, which is responsible for enforcing these laws: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0138-auto-warranties-routine-maintenance that puts it down in black and white!
So, in a nutshell, if you want to maintain your new car yourself, do it! Use the recommended weight and type (synthetic is best) of oil, and change it on the specified interval. Keep records (we do this for our customers) so that if there is ever a warranty failure, you can prove you have done your part. If the dealer tries to tell you otherwise, tell them they are breaking the law. If they give you any static, call the manufacturer of the oil you use- they will be on your side 100%!!. Or, you can just let us do it for you, we promise we’ll do a great job and protect your investment in the best possible way! Thanks, and Happy New Year!!