Do you really need to go to the dealer for maintenance and oil changes?
Updated: Nov 21, 2018
Hello RVA- it's time for Richmond's Easy Street Oil to blog about the importance of oil changes and vehicle maintenance.
There are many good reasons to go to the dealer for auto repairs, but there are also many good reasons not to. The dealer does know your vehicle well, but that doesn't matter for basic routine maintenance. An oil change is an oil change- you should go with someone you trust that offers the convenience you want. You wouldn't go to a brain surgeon for a minor headache, so you don't need to go to the dealer for basic car care.
Often a dealer will tell you that while your vehicle is under warranty, you must have all work and maintenance done at the dealer. This is not true. In 1975, Congress passed a law called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Part of this law prevents a dealer from requiring you to have all maintenance done by the dealer or forcing you to buy all parts from the dealer. You do, however, need to follow the manufacturers instructions on vehicle care, maintenance, and the type of fluids used. For example, Honda might require that every 5,000 miles you change your oil & filter using 0w-20 full synthetic oil with an oil filter designed for use with synthetic oil. It doesn't matter if you use Mobil 1, Valvoline, Honda's oil, or Napa Auto Parts branded oil; it only matters that you use the correct oil & filter- 0w-20 synthetic designed for the year your car was made.
Routine maintenance and repairs are a huge source of income for dealerships, sometimes more than actually selling cars! So, it makes sense that they want you to go to them for all vehicle care, but that's generally not in your best interest. As long as you are using the correct parts & fluids and keep your receipt proving you had the service done, you are allowed to go anywhere you choose. Even better yet, have the shop come to you while you're comfy at home or while you're at work!
Remember, you should never feel pressured to have work done to your vehicle, you should always have any recommendations from the mechanic explained to you in terms you understand, and you are always within your right to have a second opinion from another mechanic.
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