Surprisingly, some of our favorite clients don’t spend a lot of money on their vehicles. In fact, one of our main goals is to help people reduce their auto expenses. These clients are those with whom we’ve built a trusting relationship with by being completely honest with them. At Marinelli Auto Service, we’ve striven to provide quality focused automotive service, and to be fair and kind towards them. These clients get what they want out of their vehicle in the most efficient and cost effective way.
Clients driving a car or truck they trust as safe and reliable are those whom we say are at “home” with their vehicle. This path home is what we call a service path, and there are a few different ways to get there.
Some paths will take longer than others depending on:
- Your level of trust with your mechanic.
- Your openness to their recommendations.
- How proactive you want to be in repairing and maintaining your vehicle.
The following demonstrates the five different paths you could take “home.” For real life scenarios of each of these service paths, read this blog post.
The person on path #5 doesn’t have a trusting relationship with their mechanic and isn’t open to hearing what a mechanic has to say. They are going to spend more time at the repair shop and spend more money before they finally get home with their vehicle.
The person on path #4 will do a little better, but they are still going to spend more money and take more trips than necessary.
Path #3 is where you really start seeing savings in time and money. This person is building trust with the mechanic and is starting to take a long term view.
The person on path #2 is doing better yet, but the person on path #1 is going to spend the least amount of time in the shop and will get the most value for their money.
Wouldn’t it be reassuring to be at home with your vehicle? How does one get on the #1 path?
The answer is vehicle inspections and service visits.
The Value of Vehicle Inspections
Different shops will do inspections in their own ways, but Marinelli Auto Service has two different inspections that are meant to work together. The first is the Comprehensive Vehicle Inspection (CVI). This inspection provides a baseline for what you need to know about your vehicle. It’s like when you go to the doctor for an in depth physical exam with some basic labs. We spend four to five hours looking over your vehicle, top to bottom, front to back, with a fine-toothed comb.
This inspection will help you to know what immediate repairs are needed to restore the safety and reliability of your vehicle. It helps you to plan ahead for maintenance and repairs that are coming up. Because you have a well rounded view of your vehicle’s condition, we can plan work in overlap. That is, if we know you need work for two different components on one area of your vehicle, we can do them both at the same time, saving labor costs. For example, it’s a good idea to replace the water pump and the timing belt in overlap. The CVI will also prevent surprise repairs because we can see components wearing out before they completely give up and leave you stranded. This saves money on repairs which could become more severe if not tended to sooner.
The Proactive Vehicle Inspection (PVI) is meant as a follow up between CVIs. They can address specific areas of concern or provide a general overview of the vehicle. For example, if in your last CVI it was noted that the struts were starting to show wear and tear, about a year later you might get a PVI that focuses on inspecting the vehicle’s suspension.
The reports for both of these inspections will provide notes on:
- Immediate safety and mechanical concerns.
- Repairs to plan for the future.
- Procedures to be done on a maintenance basis.
- Items to recheck at the next inspection.
When you know the condition of your vehicle, you can plan maintenance and repairs to be done at regular service visits. This allows you to schedule your vehicle for service 2-3 times each year. At a service visit you will get your oil changed and we can do anything else you know your vehicle needs. For example, you might also get your tires rotated and balanced, and one of those “plan for future” repairs listed on your last inspection report.
Getting regular inspections and scheduling service visits aren’t going to eliminate surprise repairs completely, but they will greatly reduce them. We have solid data to prove that this method of service helps you to plan your time and finances better when it comes to taking care of your vehicle.
Vehicle Tracking Analysis
We’ve measured the data of our clients and have found that those who stay on top of their repairs and maintenance average $150 per month in vehicle costs. People who are catching up on maintenance and repairs might average closer to $200 per month. This budget keeps you in a vehicle that is safe, reliable, and comfortable that could drive up to 300,000-400,000 miles!
Why is this a big deal? Because if you see that the average car payment for 2022 was $400-$700 per month, you realize that maintaining a quality used vehicle can save you a lot of money! (A wide range in the average car payment is due to many factors. Is the vehicle new or used? How much money will you put down? How long will you take to pay it off?)
We keep a spreadsheet for each vehicle that comes through our shop to track the overall expenditure for the client, including:
- Overall annual and monthly average expenditure
- Average spent per mile
- Year-to-year monthly average trends
Let’s look at a family with two vehicles:
Vehicle #1: 2005 Honda Odyssey
- 218k miles
- Average monthly cost: $174.13
- Average annual cost: $2,089.56
Vehicle #2: 2002 Toyota Tundra
- 205k miles
- Average monthly cost: $125.75
- Average annual cost: $1508.96
Averaged together, this family is paying $300 per month to keep both of their vehicles safe, reliable and comfortable. They have regular inspections, stay on top of maintenance and repairs, and have very few surprise repairs. They know how much they need to save to take care of their vehicles, and they don’t get stressed when they bring them in for service.
What will it take for you to move from the service path you are on to the #1 service path? Wouldn’t it be reassuring to be at home with your vehicle?