Dealer or Franchise Maintenance

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

I recently purchased a used 1991 Ford Explorer. It has hit its 75,000 mile maintenance schedule. I get conflicting information from friends about whether to take the SUV to a Ford dealership ($$), take it to one of those tune-up places or what? Cost is a factor but I also care about getting the job done right...the first time. I also have this allergic reaction to deceptive mechanics. :-) Can you offer suggestions?

This is a tough dilemma that you face. Who can you trust to do what is needed and keep the cost in line? If I knew the answer to that, I would be a VERY RICH MAN!! On my fist new truck, I followed the service schedule religiously. They are not cheap (around $450 for the full service). If I remember correctly, the 75k service is a biggy! Generally it is a full tune up and maybe a brake service. They might even check the tranny... These are all things that anyone might be able to do. Even though there are not many things to do during a tune up, it is still expensive for the parts! And you still have to hook it up to one of those code scanners to find out if any parts are defective! So what do you do? You have to bring it somewhere you trust things will be done right. The dealer will do that, but they are expensive. The guy down the road will do it cheap, but he will probably find something else that needs to be done. Try Pep boys. They are all across the country and generally have a good reputation.

As far as you allergic reaction, first see you doctor to see if there is anything you can take, and second use it to scout out the good guys. They are not all crooks! when you meet one that you feel comfortable with, spread the word and tell all that you have found an honest service center. When I was younger and wasn't as wise in the ways of the world, I went through many a service center. Till I heard one day that there was this Sunoco station run by a minister. I went down there cause I was having a problem. By just describing what was wrong, the mechanic told me how to fix it. I didn't have to bring it down and he did NOT charge me a nickel. That was on a small block chevy. Probably the most common engine in the world on a car that was pre- computer and pre everything else for that matter. But none the less, he could have told me to bring it in. I then told everyone that I know how honest this guy was. By the way, he gave me this free information on more that one occasion. It got to a point that he was so busy, he had to stop taking on major repairs and only took on brake jobs, radiator jobs, and the other easy things. Was a big shame that such an honest guy got too busy he couldn't keep doing it!
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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