If we've been servicing your vehicle for very long at all, you've probably noticed we spend a lot of time and energy trying to get you in for oil changes and maintenance services. I'm sure you've noticed the little sticker on the windshield of your car. Then, of course, there is the reminder postcard we send out. That seems to get about half of our clients in about half of the time.
For the rest of you daredevils, running with scissors, out there living on the edge, we're kicking around some other ideas to get you in here for your oil changes: carrier pigeons, sky-writing, telepathic messages, singing telegrams, fortune cookies stuffed with the date of your next service. Really?! What's it going to take?
Ok, I'm just going to resort to scare tactics. It's less expensive than the carrier pigeons and more fun.
Cautionary Tale #1
We recently did a $1,300 repair on yet another Volkswagen Passat 1.8 Turbo that could have been avoided completely with a $75 oil change. We've encountered this particular problem so many times now I feel compelled to share the story. VW Passats and Audi A4s equipped with the 1.8 litre Turbo engine must have their oil changed every 5,000 miles with synthetic oil. I cannot stress the importance of this enough.
Following is the gruesome tale of what happens should you neglect your oil changes.
NOTE: This may not be appropriate for small children or those with delicate stomachs.
Very shortly after being in the car for 5,000 miles the synthetic oil becomes sludgy and begins to choke off the oil pickup tube. Next, the engine begins to suffer from low oil pressure and vital internal engine components start to incur damage. The extent of the damage depends on how long the car is operated past the 5,000 mile mark.
Here's how you'll know this is happening. If your vehicle's warning systems are fully operational, the horrifying "STOP" message will flash on your dash's info screen. If you choose to ignore this lovely little warning, you'll soon hear an ominous chattering noise coming from your engine. At that point, you'll be calling the tow truck and we'll be replacing your oil pump to the tune of $1,300. If you're very fortunate the valve train and rod bearings will not have suffered major damage and will not need attention. If you're not so lucky... well, you don't even want to know. Pretty darn scary, hmmm?
Cautionary Tale #2
Oil change for $196 or differential replacement for $5,000? We replaced a differential for one of our Porsche clients a few weeks ago because it had been run so low on differential fluid there was no alternative. You may be wondering what that has to do with an oil change?
You see, when we change your oil, we have your vehicle up on a lift. This gives us the opportunity to visually inspect key areas. Had we been doing this gentleman's oil changes, even just on an annual basis, we would have noticed the differential leak when it was just a seep. That would have been a relatively inexpensive repair. Unfortunately, this was the first time we had serviced his car. By the time we got to it he was noticing noise from the differential. It was a goner. $5,000. Yikes!
So... please, please, please stay on top of your routine maintenance. Believe me, it is so much less expensive in the long run.