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Orinda Auto Repair

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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure


This expression means that it is better to try to avoid problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix them once they arise. Our goal is to stay out of the repair shop, right? Sometimes the best way to do that is to actually visit the shop, but do it on your terms and your schedule. If you recognize a weak battery during a routine maintenance service you have the ability to replace it at your convenience, not when you are least expecting it like when you are ready to take the kids to school. The bottom line is that it is absolutely necessary to pay attention to your car, weather you are a do-it-yourselfer or use a trustworthy repair facility. As I say repeatedly, paying attention to the needs of your car is the responsibility of the owner/operator. We expect to go to the doctor once a year for a physical, well your car, truck or SUV needs a physical too.

As a matter of fact I personally was able to avoid an increase in health insurance costs by having a physical done and completing a health questioner. It is obvious if you are proactive with your personal health and fitness you can recognize issues before they become serious and save the whole system money. The same holds true with your vehicle. Annual inspections can identify issues such as marginal batteries, coolant leaks (while they are still minor) and the demise of your brake linings (before they damage other components or cause brake failure). Just about every day we have a motorist come in the shop with an “emergency” of some kind that should have been a non-emergency if recognized during a full inspection. We are not just talking about a “Kwik-y oil change” here. I mean a thorough inspection including checking the cooling system, checking for fluid leaks, steering, suspension, brake linings, battery integrity and the air in the spare tire. Who even thinks of the air in the spare? You don’t want to find out when you have a flat. If you take a vehicle such as the 2005 Chevy Suburban and check the maintenance intervals spelled out in the owner’s manual you will find that such an inspection is recommended every 15,000 miles.

The truth of the matter is the personnel at a Kwik oil change outfit are usually trained to change oil and check your fluid levels only. They do not always perform a battery load test (or know how to interpret the results) or analyze tire wear. So it is not about the frequency of the service only but the kind of service that is performed. As usual the pertinent information, that will help you with the “what and when” of servicing, is in your owners manual. I want you to become a consumer of proper auto maintenance. Avoid emergencies and the chaos that comes with it. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Happy motoring!

John Vanek
Car Time – Orinda Motors


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