It’s hard finding a decent place to get your car serviced, or is it? There’s a lot to be said for DIY basic servicing such as oil/filter changes, belts, brake pads etc if you are capable and have the equipment (as I do and have done for many years). However, if your car is still under warranty you are obliged to get it done by an authorised service agent, be it the dealer or someone else who will not void your warranty. So you cop the excessive fee under fear of something going wrong with your vehicle in the future and needing warranty work.
Here’s an example: Some months back I took our car to a ‘car care’ centre in Canberra’city’ – in Braddon to be exact – and after I got it home I checked the oil. Interestingly, the vehicle takes 4.3 litres including the filter and I was charged for 4.3 litres. However, I put exactly .3 litres of oil into the car at home to take it to the full mark on the dipstick. Whilst a bit annoyed at being ripped off at the time and their lack of care, I got over it.
So last weekend I changed the oil and filter myself – the first time it hasn’t been done by someone authorised as it is now out of warranty – and the lack of care by the last mob who serviced it came to light. The sump plug was so tight I had to get some pipe over the socket bar to undo it! Yes they need to be tight, but not at the point where it threatens to strip the thread, remembering that the sump housing is only alloy metal anyway so can be easily damaged.
Then it came to taking off the old oil filter. Filters do tend to tighten up over time, but never in my almost 40 years of servicing cars have I had so much trouble getting an old filter off. I reckon it must have been also screwed on within an inch of stripping its thread too!
Talking to a mate who also takes pride in maintaining his own vehicles, we agreed that the garage probably used a rattle gun to tighten the sump plug and the heavy handedness of the filter was poor practice at the least (and I’m being kind here)!
So, alledged “we take care of your car” places like this one in Braddon probably do them like an assembly line and really don’t give a care at all!
So people, go take a basic motor maintenance course and you will do it better and save yourself money too.
Would love to hear about other people’s experiences although I suspect that most people who have their cars serviced at such places won’t know how poorly treated their vehicles are?
If you’re also looking for service specific to your car, check out our recently updated article of the best car service centres in Canberra. Or, if you’re just after a general service, check out our recently updated article on the best mechanics in Canberra.