Confessions of a Service Writer

For most who visit this site you probably know most of this, but consider these articles ones you can share with your less informed family and friends.

  1. Use that tire mileage warranty
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Mileage warranties are a real thing on good tires and you absolutely can take advantage of them. Even if you only have a few thousand miles until they’re out of warranty the manufacturer will give you some credit if you’ve taken good care of them. To prove this you’ll need to have some record of rotations (unless you’re staggered) and the tread will need to be even across the tire. It’s a good idea to stop using it no later than 2/32nds tread. Your local tire shop can help with this but you can also measure the tread and call your tire maker to start the process. They are easier to deal with than you might think.

2. Those 5 min oil change places

That 5 mins isn’t really enough for many engines. Did you know that many manufacturers call for a specific amount of time to let the car drain? Most call for more than 10 mins so keep that in mind when you do need a quick oil change. Limited use of those places won’t hurt you but if you do it all the time I would be concerned you’re not actually draining all the oil properly. You could also end up a little over full too if they aren’t careful.

3. Nitro!

Nitrogen in tires is a real argument these days. You see nitrogen makes up 78% of what we’re all breathing right now so why on earth would anyone pay for that in their tires over just free air? Well here’s the deal. It does have some benefits. It will contract and expand like any noble gas so the myth that it’s totally stable and will never change in pressure is just that, a myth. In fact most notable tire brands will mention this on their websites. The benefit I see most people getting is less corrosion inside the wheel. That corrosion builds up from the little bit of water in normal air and can absolutely cause leaks around the bead of the tire over time. It’s not useless, but it’s not the cure-all some tire shops tout it as.

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4. Wheel Lock Keys Break

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If you have a locking lug nut kit and a wheel lock key you may at some stage be told that you need a new one because your old one is broken. If this happens you need to ask to see the key. Look for where the damage is. If it’s on the seam then you need to hold the shop accountable. When used with an impact wrench often time they’ll come apart and that’s on the shop not on you. When used with a normal torque wrench they work fine each time. I’ve heard horror stories of a shop breaking the key and then charging people $70 or more to remove and replace those lugs. Don’t let that be you.

5. Appointments are less reliable than going to the doctor.

I would love to run my shop by appointment. It would mean consistent, patient, customers. It would also mean that business is good. Additionally it would mean that we’re running smoothly and on time every time. Sadly this is not how it runs at all. That doesn’t mean that business is bad, just that it’s hectic, unpredictable and unpredictable.

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Let’s just talk oil changes. Simple enough right? Not much variation you might think. Not true. Where is the oil filter for instance? On some vehicles it’s so obvious and easy to locate that you don’t need a tool to remove it. On a Mini Cooper though it can be hidden under other parts that will require removal before you can even get to it. What about under-body panels? Toyota and Lexus have large heavy metal skid plates that you have to remove that take a few mins and a few bolts. Volvo has one with 20 screws that have to come out before you can remove it. All this is to say that you need to be flexible with shops that schedule appointments. We want to hit the times we promise. It means more happy customers, but sometimes we run into stuff that slows us down.

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