Money Wise--Over the Top Oil Changes - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/18/04

Money Wise--Over the Top Oil Changes

Changing your car's oil on a regular basis is probably the single best thing you can do to keep your car running as it should. But beware! Some shops may try to talk you into getting work done that really isn't needed. Auto experts warn that at some quick-lube shops, overeager sales clerks may push you to buy more than you really need. Don't give in.

"If your car is running well and you have been following the maintenance plan in your car's manual, you probably don't need them," said Mary Kate Hogan, an editor with Good Housekeeping.

For example, an engine flush can cost about $40. "A flush on a newer car is totally overkill," said mechanic Jon Everett. "I don't see that happening before 100,000 miles on a car."

And a fuel injection system cleaning that typically costs about $60 is another fix you might not want to be in. "This is something that you don't need on a routine basis," explained Hogan.

Also, beware of the fluid fake out. "Some lube shops have been known to push you on buying extra coolant," said Hogan. "To make sure you don't really need it, you might want to check under the hood before you go to the shop and see what the levels look like."

Regular trips to franchises are a convenient way to stay on top of oil changes. But be careful, you want to stick to the basics.

"Lube shops can be good for getting some of the basics done like having your tire pressure checked, getting your wiper fluid filled, but if they suggest something that seems above and beyond the general price, something that is going to cost a lot extra, you might want to say, thanks for the information but I'll talk to my mechanic about it," advised Hogan.

So shop wisely and don't get taken for a ride on your next trip to the lube shop.

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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