What Makes a Good Oil Change Service

It’s no secret that auto repair shops don’t make a lot of money on an oil change service. A smart business will realize the opportunity to solidify a strong relationship with a customer by providing a high quality maintenance service. Often it’s the little details that provide for a memorable experience, promotes loyalty and continued patronage. This article will talk about the small things every auto repair shop should be doing during lube oil and filter maintenance services.

Checking the Spare Tire

Car manufacturers are doing a good job of hiding away the spare to maximize interior cargo space. It has become so out of sight that it can easily become out of mind. Almost all vehicles these days have a space saver unit that’s more like an emergency only tire. Because of their small stature, recommended inflation is usually quite high. Some are even 50 to 60 PSI fully inflated. It is not unusual for any tire to lose 2 to 5 PSI per year. For this reason it’s imperative to check it regularly.When you’re getting an oil change done not only should the shop check all of the pressures on the mounted tires but the spare as well. The mechanic should also verify there is a usable lug wrench and Jack so the motorist is ready to deal with any emergency situations. All too often mechanics and quick lube operations emphasize the word quick and can skip checking tire pressures and verifying the spare is ready to install. As a side note the inflation specifications and special instructions that often include speed limitations when using a spare tire are written right on the sidewall.

Resetting the Maintenance Reminder

Keeping track of when an automobile is ready for lube oil and filter service is an important part of a good maintenance plan. It is the shop’s responsibility to document when the service was performed. This will be provided on several levels. Of course, the owner will have the receipt that they should file with their records, but the driver should verify the mileage is accurate as sometimes the shop will guess at this number when generating the repair order.A large majority of modern automobiles have some type of maintenance reminder system. In order for this to work properly it needs to be reset during the visit. Repair centers can skip this step for several reasons including they don’t know how to perform the reset operation. Instructions to accomplish this task are usually simple and included in the owner’s manual. Drivers need to verify this was reset correctly. Vehicles without a maintenance reminder should have a next service decal attached to the inside upper left corner of the windshield.

Not Adding Brake Fluid

Topping off the automobiles vital fluids is included in a good oil change service. Drivers should verify the inclusion of miscellaneous liquids before signing the repair order. This is often an area where a shop will take some shortcuts. As an example they can fill the washer fluid with water instead of the proper antifreeze mixture. This can cause the windshield washers to freeze and become inoperative when you need them. The same can be said for the engine coolant.This is one area where I would ask the shop if they’re not going to do it right then please don’t do it at all. When it comes to brake fluid vehicles have specifications on what type to use. Opening the master cylinder can allow contamination and moisture to enter the hydraulic brake system. Fluid should only be added to the reservoir when it is below the minimum line. With the opportunities for more to go wrong than right, the shop should leave this alone unless it is absolutely necessary.

Absorbing Miscellaneous Charges

When it comes time to settle up for the bill a small discount can go a long way in securing a lifetime patron. As discussed in a previous article about shop supplies and waste disposal fees, additional charges for a basic oil change can be anywhere between two and four dollars at the shop’s cost. Breaking this out into a separate charge and comp this expense as a show of appreciation might accomplish more than an expensive advertising campaign.

The items covered in this article are examples of the extra mile the shop can go, in providing an excellent customer experience. When you find a retail automotive center that performs all of these tasks without asking, you should do two things. First, notify the shop that because of their excellent service you will continue to be a patron. Second, tell your friends and family about the business and why it is to their advantage to also become a customer.