Protect your car from unnecessary repairs

GLENDALE, Calif. If you know very little about car repairs, chances are you may dread taking your vehicle in for service. Many people worry about getting taken for a ride by a mechanic who wants to add a lot of extra services and charges.

Mike Quincy, an auto specialist for /*Consumer Reports*/, says consumers can protect themselves if they remember one thing.

"The most important thing consumers can do is look in their owner's manual and see exactly what is required at all of the mileage intervals," said Quincy. "Follow that by the book and you'll be fine."

When automakers were asked about extra services, they agreed you don't need any maintenance beyond what's listed in the owner's manual.

But there are a few red flags you should be aware of that Consumer Reports calls rip-offs, such as flushing the engine or transmission.

"It's not required and in some ways, it could actually hurt your components," said Quincy.

Another red flag is frequently replacing different parts and insisting that only a dealership can perform maintenance when a vehicle is still under warranty.

"If you bring your car in for warranty work the dealership cannot say,'You didn't get your oil change with us, so we are not going to honor the warranty.' They're not allowed to do that. As long as you have receipts for all the oil changes, for all the work that you did, that wasn't at the dealership, you're going to be be fine," said Quincy.

A Consumer Reports survey showed consumers can save up to $150 by shopping around.

To find a good mechanic, talk to friends, family and co-workers for their suggestions, then see how much business the mechanic has. A good one will be very busy.


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