from Goss’ Garage by Pat Goss

I was shocked at a relatively late model low miles car in my shop recently with battery cables so badly corroded the metal ends were almost non-existent. Not surprisingly it had been towed because it wouldn’t start.

It’s shocking that so many drivers think they’re too busy or too important to take time for proper service. All they want is a ten minute oil change, but cars need more than oil changes. Cars have always needed lots of things checked and maintained at each service interval to keep them reliable and healthy. Not the least of which is battery maintenance because without a healthy battery and clean, electrically efficient battery cables you can kiss even basic reliability goodbye!

But the car in my bay had been regularly serviced in a quick oil change lane. It had also had all those exceedingly high profit services that get sold in speedy lanes. Unfortunately some of those services may be pure profit for the shop owner yet offer no real benefit to the driver. I’m not saying to avoid quick service but at least alternate between quick service and full service and understand what you are and are not getting!

As a rule the full service shop will check battery and cable cleanliness and recommend service before you’re stranded. Also full service usually includes inspecting safety items like steering, suspension, exhaust, lights, wipers, and a check for fluid leaks, etc. The full service shop will point out pending problems allowing you to fix them before they damage more expensive parts or leave you driving a deadly car. The big difference is full service shops check everything not just items on a speedy service menu. Because what a quick service shop can fix is limited so are the things they usually check.

The driver of the car in my bay had spent huge amounts of money on quick services which kept the engine well protected but everything around the engine was literally falling apart from neglect. It was over maintained and grossly under-maintained at the same time. Like his battery. The cables had been sprayed on the outside but they had not been removed for proper cleaning. Although it looked great the cables had literally dissolved from the inside out and the car needed new battery cables. The sad part is proper battery service would have cost $20.00 to $30.00 and that would have prevented the problems entirely. The result of the bogus quick service was towing $162.00, battery cables $224.00; labor $120.00, testing $42.00 for a total of $548.00. Every penny of that money would have been saved with proper maintenance.

Saving a few minutes on service may cost you hundreds later on and even worse, you usually don’t save money by using quick lanes. The cost of speedy service is usually the same and many times higher. All you save is a few minutes time and even that doesn’t always happen! If you compare what you get for what you pay you may find quick service costs more than double what full service costs because full service gives you so much more for the same or less money.

For longer vehicle life review your owner’s manual so you’ll know what’s needed for minimum preventive maintenance. Then make copies of the pages to present to the shop and ask if they can and will do the various services and checks. If they say no or some services aren’t needed go to a better shop.

For maximum vehicle life and lower repair costs move up to aftermarket maintenance which often extends vehicle life to a quarter million or more miles. For a free copy of my Goss’ Garage maintenance schedule and information on getting a free lifetime BG Products warranty go to Remember quick may save a little time today but cost you both time and money later. Quick is good but complete, professional and proper is best.