At my dealership every other month we invite all of those who recently purchased a used or new vehicles from us to our “New Owners’ Event”. Our customers enjoy a buffet dinner and meet my customer relations manger, service manager, parts manager, top technician, and me. There is a lot of Q & A and here are the six most frequently asked questions with my answers.
(1) What grade of gasoline I should use? Use the grade of gasoline recommended by your manufacturer. Most cars run just fine on regular, but higher compression engines, and all V-8’s, require high test. There is absolutely no value to using a higher test, more expensive gas than your car’s manufacturer recommends.
(2) What brand of gasoline should I buy? I recommend that you stick with major national brands and avoid the independents. If you buy from Sunoco, Amoco, Mobil, etc, you are far less likely to get contaminated gasoline. Condensation and debris in your gas can cause some very expensive repairs. I also recommend that you buy your gas from the same gas station as often as possible. If you do have a problem, you will know exactly where it happened. Gas stations that do a high volume and regularly refill their tanks are less likely to have condensation or debris in their tanks.
(3) If I don’t put very many miles on my car, do I still need to bring it in every 6 months for service? The first recommended service is usually after 6 months or 5,000 miles. Even if you have driven only 1,000 miles in 6 months, you should bring it in to have your oil changed, your tires checked, and your car inspected. Time is as big a cause of wear on your car as is mileage, especially in South Florida with our high humidity, heat, and salt air.
(4) How often should I check my tire pressure? Having the correct tire pressure is one of the most underrated maintenance requirements on a car. Not only will maintaining correct tire pressure maximize the life of your tires, but it will increase your gas mileage, and make your car safer to drive by improving the braking and handling. Check your tire pressure at least one every month.
(5) How important is it to have my car serviced by the dealer rather than an independent garage? If you have a trusted mechanic or you are a competent “do-it-yourselfer” there is nothing wrong with having routine maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations, done outside of your car dealership. I do recommend that you bring it to your dealer for checkups periodically and always for any kind of repair. Today’s automobile “is not your father’s automobile”. It is a very sophisticated, highly complex, computerized machine. Factory authorized dealers must invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in computerized diagnostic machinery and maintain a staff of highly trained technicians who specialize in that make of car.
(6) Should I use regular or synthetic oil? As long as you change your oil at least every 5,000 miles or 6 months (whichever comes first), you cannot go wrong with either. Synthetic oils are much more expensive than regular oils and are touted by some to be superior. I have heard pundits on both sides of this issue. If you choose to use synthetic oil because you believe it is better, be sure that you still change your oil at least every 5,000 miles or 6 months.