It’s really annoying and frustrating, if not stressful, to go in for maintenance due just a few weeks after an oil change. And then, a couple months after that, to go in for a surprise repair. You are busy. You have work, school, kids, etc. Your time is valuable. You don’t have time to be running back and forth to and from your mechanic.
While we like the relationships we’ve built with our clients, we value honoring their time, and only seeing them as few times as possible throughout the year is one indicator that we are doing our job well. Our goal is to remove the stress of going back and forth as much as possible. That’s why we’ve introduced Service Visits into the model of care we give to our clients. That is that with each visit, the vehicle gets a proper blend of maintenance, inspection, and repair procedures so that you don’t have to return to the shop in between visits, and you have an opportunity to plan ahead for the next visit.
What is a Service Visit?
It all starts with knowing what your vehicle needs and when. There are a couple ways you can obtain this knowledge.
The vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is a good place to start in knowing what your vehicle needs. It tells you when regular time and mileage based services are due such as fluid exchanges, filter replacements, etc. These schedules often require some interpretation based on mileage, driving conditions, and typical usage. This is where a mechanic can be valuable in helping you make informed decisions. Beyond the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, we can often inform you about components that commonly fail or wear out based on mileage, usage, and the specific vehicle model. Some of these components apply to vehicles in general; others are more specific to what you’re driving or the driving conditions that your vehicle sees. Brake Pads, for example, have a predictable life-span. For example, it is helpful to have the brakes inspected and, as needed, the pads replaced while your vehicle is in for another service.
When someone calls to schedule an oil change, we will ask what other concerns you have. We will even look at previous maintenance services, inspections, or tests we’ve done for you, and let you know what is coming due. That way, instead of sitting around our office waiting for an oil change and then coming back a few weeks later for the other services, you can leave your vehicle for a day or so, go about your business, and get it all done at one time.
We strongly recommend having your vehicle inspected on a regular basis. Not only can these inspections tell you what your vehicle needs now, they can also help prevent you from being affected by mechanical failures that cause the car to break-down, safety concerns that raise the risk of an accident, and mechanical issues that will rise in repair cost if not tended to proactively. We are happy to be reactive when necessary (reacting to and solving a problem), but we believe that you can save money, time, and stress with a proactive and informed approach.
When we do inspections here, we take detailed notes and provide you with a comprehensive list of current or upcoming maintenance, repairs ,and concerns for your vehicle based on priority. Then, 2-4 times each year, you can schedule your vehicle for a Service Visit – have your oil changed, tires rotated, and any other service that you know is needed.There are two types of inspections we do at our repair shop. Comprehensive inspections involve a detailed look at your vehicle from top to bottom, front to back, inside and out. This helps you make a long-term plan and to budget out what your vehicle is going to need in the coming months or years. Maintenance inspections can look like smaller pieces of the comprehensive inspection. They can be focused on areas of the vehicle that are most prevalent at the time depending on its mileage, service history and your specific concerns. Both inspections are legitimate depending on your vehicle and what you want.
Keeping Our Eyes Open
When we service your vehicle, we may notice warning signs of a problem. For example,we may notice a fluid leak, a clunk noise, a worn tire, or many other things.That’s not to say that we go looking for problems without your consent. It means that we are looking out for you and if something jumps out at us, we will give you a heads up.
For example, say we are doing an oil change on a Honda and we notice blue fluid at the bottom of the engine compartment. This is a dead giveaway that the engine coolant is leaking. We want you to know so that you can be proactive. We don’t want to see that coolant leak result in an engine overheat that could increase the overall repair cost. Or maybe we see that a tire is worn bald on the inside edge where you can’t see it. We want the vehicle to perform safely for you so we feel obligated to let you know. We’d like to see the tire get replaced, and the alignment adjusted so that you don’t continue to experience that abnormal wear.
We may notice concerns that are more minor as well. We just had a Honda S2000 in the shop today that has a couple concerns with engine oil leakage, but neither of them require immediate attention. Now they are on our radar for future service work, and the client has the opportunity to make plans in advance.
Time and Money
Time and money are two areas of life that need to be honored and budgeted wisely. We want to help you with both when it comes to taking care of your vehicle. That’s why we believe that building trust through honest communication with our clients by providing proactive rather than reactive service is so important.
Are you interested in knowing more about how Service Visits could help you? If you are in Central Florida, please feel free to contact us.