5 Car Repairs You Shouldn't Skip

Leave a Comment - 81


keith smith

Subject: oil change coolent all fluids

ive been driving the same car since highschool 24 years now has original 318 unrebuilt runs great i use regular advanced oil and filter change every 3-5000 miles car gets 32mpg it has a carb its getting old better mpg than new 4 bangers and nice to drive i drive 500 miles a week i get about 6 yrs out of brake shoes if coolent is in rad and i can see it it has enough i have never changed the coolent or the tranny fluid and the car has over 1 million miles on it but it is a plymouth roadrunner the odometer has rolled over 14 times since i bought it


Subject: Oil Change AND Tire Rotation/balance

My only car tip: I have the oil changed (I use synthetic, but probably not needed) every 6000 miles. My tire provider and garage are next to each other. This way, I leave it at one shop, and ask them to take it to the other. I am at 165,000 on a 2004 Tahoe and only on my 3rd set of tires, and no engine issues in 8 years!

Keith Miller

Subject: engine light

Just comes on in the winter every winter,replaced gas cap like auto place said and still comes on and stays on..Been on a week now.


Subject: 1967 Cougar

My gramps has a 1967 Cougar that has never had an oil change. Bought it new off the lot and it now has right over 500,000 miles on it. Car runs great. Took it in to the shop last week to make sure everything was up to par and it blew the techs minds at how long the car has went without an actual oil change. All he does is change the filter and top it off. Car has no problems at all and runs a helluva lot better than anything now a days


Subject: oil changes

Here is a sad thing that can happen. You can be perfect in oil changes but when the oil pump goes,

your engine goes. Wish the engineers have an answer to this dilemma.


Subject: Oil changes.

Some commenter out there have stated that this aritcle should have been titled maintence list or some other title. Some have commented about the way the article was written. Ok, some of you are are probably english majors and want to prove how intelligent you are about sentence structure or whats in a title. I don't care about all that. I welcome all the comments and thank all of those who have taken the time to put theire opinion and suggestions in this article. I am a person that strives to learn something everyday. I have found in life that other peoples opinions, idea and experiences are important to the learning process. I learned a lot from this article. It had some very good advice and some not so good. Like anything in life take the good for what its worth and leave the rest. There is no need to attack another commenter on their sentence structure or title for the article. This article was ment to inform and share exchanges of ideas and experiences. This is still America and honest exchanges of opinion is what has made this country great in most cases. We need to put our egos aside and just listen to each other. Accept what we want and leave the rest with respect.


Subject: deferred maintenance

My 89 Toyo Camry is at 345, 000 miles and still gets over 35 mpg regularly. Oil consumption is about a quart every 4,000--I change it at maybe 10,000 or 12,000--regular oil. Really, it's how you drive it--and short hops are a killer......and the coolant flush deals are the most absolute waste of money. Finally got around, last summer, to changing radiator hoses for the first time.....and rear brakes for the first replacement, too. (NO, I didn't have the drums machined) Did I mention it's on the original clutch, too?)


Subject: Anti freeze

Let's update your antifreeze comments. The newer antifreezes have change intervals up to 150,000 miles. Old technology the 2 year change intervals


Subject: Timing!

There's something the article seems to overlooked that is very important, but people don't think about because it's not needed until 60,000 or more miles. And that's the timing belt/chain. It IS expensive but really should be done.


Subject: a/c actuator

the actuator broke. i paid 2,000. for xtra service and ofcourse this unfortunataly wasnt a part of the deal. the part is about 90.00 and labor brings it to 530.00. where else can i go. too much money to pay. i just hope a/c keeps going fotr summer and heater will work when i switch it over. any suggestions?

greg marsh

Subject: A car is like a woman, treat

A car is like a woman, treat it with respect, give it the maintenance it needs, and it will give you years of service. Mis treat it, beat on it, neglect it, treat her poorly, it WILL pay you back, some day, some how. 3000 miles for an oil change, is fine with me. I will do it, no questions asked, because it is worth it, PERIOD, any one that says different is ignorant and STUPID!!!!! I rely on my cars to do the job, my cars rely on me to do what it is necessary for them to work.

Diana King

Subject: Timing Belt

I have a 1997 Honda accord, I purchased it from a single owner @ 133,000 miles, How can I tell when it's ready for a new timing belt, It now has 177,500 miles, what are some of the signs of a timing belt going bad?


Subject: timing belt replacement

A timing Belt should be changed by age, about every 6 to 7 years. Look at your cars service/owners book. If not replace regularly, you could be in need of a new engine if it breaks.


Subject: timing belt change

Look and see if the timing belt is OEM ( Honda ). Good reminder is to change at 90k mile intervals. Most timing belts are changed around 90k - 120k mile intervals .


Subject: the idiots are out

Here come the ASA certified folks who have no clue. As if we should bow to their faux expertise. not a one of them has ever overhauled an engine outside of the antiseptic classroom. Unless you can quantify your claims, which no one can, use reality to defend your position boys. Been at this all my life. 6000 miles is fine for today's oil and engines. Change the filter at 3K, and leave the oil in there. IF you are worried have the oil analyzed, and keep an eye on the results of all that time and money wasted. Figure on 150K miles from about any engine made in your generation if you change the filter often. Oil doesn't break down, it just gets dirty. Filter it, and stop obsessing.

BTW, take the tire inflation myth and shove it. Unless you know what the hell car you are talking about, cease the lies about 1-3 mpg increase. You would be from the same graduating class that says all cars will save xx mpg if they slow down by 10 mph, as if you know the engine, and the drive train in the first place. It takes a village to pull stats out of the ass and worship them as if they are true.


Subject: Grain of salt

No matter what you drive, take care of it like you would your own child and you'll get equal results.

If every time you change the oil it comes out like sludge or black, you went too long. Smell it. It should still smell like normal oil, not burnt, acrid, pungent, etc. If you want to go longer between changes, or longer than recommended, then make sure you aren't driving only around town, use high quality filtration and oil, and don't beat on your vehicle.

If you drive a forced induction vehicle (turbo or supercharger) do NOT go over the recommended change interval no matter what. Easiest way to ruin the bearings since turbos use the oil for cooling and lubrication. They are very intolerant to additional friction, viscosity or particulate.

You can't compare cars to trucks to semi's. They have massively different jobs to do, the 5Quarts in your car is a lot less than the 20+ Quarts in a Semi or any other heavy machinery.

If you want high performance out of your vehicle, 3000 miles is about the limit before you start to see it power drops on a dyno. Stay away from high milage, extended performance oils as they all negatively effect performance.

Every car is different, generally related to quality of materials. New cars have higher quality materials and better closed loop information systems to increase reliability. They last longer between scheduled maintenance, but can fail just as fast if not taken care of.

Driving style changes everything as well. I've had a number of very high performance new vehicles and drive them very hard, even race 2-3 times a year. However, efficient driving habits will drastically reduce wear on your vehicle. I just hit 60,000 miles in my 09 Subaru WRX turbo sports sedan daily driver. I have almost half my pad left on my brakes I changed out this week. I drive very fast when nobody is looking. When I stop, my car never lurches forward from waiting until the last second to brake. I drove my 2004 STi to 210,000 miles the same way and no malfunctions of any kind sticking to the recommended maintenance/inspection schedule.

If you hear a noise, see a light, smell something, fix it when it happens and you'll save money and time and have a happy car/truck/toy that will last "forever".

What you hear may or may not apply to your vehicle. Take it all with a grain of salt. Better safe than sorry.


Subject: With fluid change, be sure to

With fluid change, be sure to include a antifreeze / coolant flush. A new radiator is not that expensive, however having a new headgasket and/ or waterpump will set you back a $1,000 + when they go from dirty fluid eating away at the gasket and pump. You can also cook and destroy the engine.


Subject: really?

So.... repairs you shouldn't skip are.... ALL of them, and also pay for all scheduled maintenance?

This is simply not true. The scheduled maintenance required by Nissan for my truck is nonsense and seriously overpriced. Change your oil, mind your fluids (to change them when they begin to break down, which is not nearly as often as they say), brake repairs, and then just don't worry about it until something changes. The dealerships have got us in a stranglehold, not to mention making cars that independent mechanics and hobbyists can no longer fix.

One of my friends is a mechanic for Ferrari... did you know they put a computer in there that is programmed to shut down after a certain mileage, forcing you to take it in, where they are instructed to tell you that you need a new computer, and replace it? There's a new dawn here of "programmed obsolescence." Nice.

The Hulk

Subject: yes "really"

Of course manufacturers don't want these dim-witted, shade tree mechanics working on their vehicles. Dealerships and manufacturers send their technicians and engineers to extensive training, quarterly, to properly service these vehicles. Did you know that lack of fluid maintenance is the number cause of failure of mechanical components? Once fluids endure the stress of thermal cycling after so many thousands of miles, they no longer have the ability the properly clean and lubricate their corresponding components. If you ever have the opportunity the visually inspect the fluid condition of a failed transmission, pay close attention to the content of the fluid. I can say, with almost 100% certainty that the fluid is either severely discolored or has a burnt smell to it. Why you ask? Because the ever so "intelligent" customer neglected to exchange his or her transmission fluid at the manufacturers recommended service interval. Until you actually work in the industry and service these products, you are by no means qualified to pass judgement on how much a service should cost or how often it should be done. *Hugs n Kisses* :)


Subject: Extended Warranty

Linda - I also have a 2003 Mercury Sable LS Premium. This model has the 24-valve Duratec 3.0l V6. I have 147,000 miles on mine and have not had any trouble at all. The only real "repair" I can remember having is replacing the power steering pump at 140,500 miles. Other than that it has been trouble-free and I have never babied it. Remember that an extended warranty is an insurance policy based on statistical data that favors the insurance company. If you need it, and it actually covers your problem, you'll be glad you had it. But be careful. Many used car extended warranties only cover specific items and problems in specific ways. They are designed to make money for the seller, not to protect the consumer. Not saying you shouldn't get one, just be careful. You might want to consider asking your mechanic to take a look at the policy to see if it covers the kinds of issues you might expect with your car... unless he's the one selling it to you. Good luck! :-)


Subject: Oil

I've been using synthetic oil for over 20 years, having lived in Anchorage where it was mandatory if you didn't have a block heater in the winter. Now I use Amsoil premium and can go 25,000 miles between oil changes, verified by Oil Analysis. I use their super duty filters and change them at 12,500 miles. My diesel truck goes 50,000 between changes with Amsoil. People changing oil at 3,000 miles are throwing good oil away (unless it's the cheep dino oil, which I would never use). Of course the oil change shops love you, but most relatively current car/truck manuals state much longer intervals. Depends on how you drive and what conditions you live in.

Gary Reynolds

Subject: oil changes

the bad shavings or gunk is in the filter! Change filter ,top off with same kind of oil and save yourself some bucks!


Subject: Oil & Filter Changes

Santa Fe is spot on. More important than changing your synthetic oil is keeping it clean. A special aftermarket oil filtration system, like Santa Fe is using, can extend the life of synthetic oil well into the 6-figures for mileage. I've seen an experiment that one Amsoil customer is doing who had over 240,000 miles on his oil (18 wheel big rig) and still going. To accomplish this, he had a big 3-stage oil filtration system. He had an oil analysis done like every 20,000 miles or so and there was no sign of engine wear. If you spend the extra on synthetic oil, be sure you are at least using a good filter. Dirty synthetic is no better than clean dino/standard oil.

billy bob

Subject: Repairs?

This isn't a repair list, a repair is an action taken to restore something broken to a working state. This is a maintenance list, the author really should study English.....


Subject: Bigger Killer for 4-bangers

A bigger killer than old oil in the more common 4-cylinder engines is low coolant and cooling system failures. The venerable old Chevy 350s could be overheated briefly, allowed to cool down and driven another 100,000 miles. Overheat a 4-banger and it's almost certainly DOA - often not even worth rebuilding. I agree with the poster who added timing belts to this list, but I'd also say the most important routine maintenance item you should stay on top of from month to month is your coolant system. Never let your coolant level get low. Fix any leaks immediately. And, drain old coolant, flush the system, and refill with fresh coolant and distilled water (with maybe some water pump lubricant) every two years.


Subject: It's not so much the number

It's not so much the number of cylinders, but the composition of the components. Most modern 4 cylinders (and modern engines in general) have aluminum heads that are extremely vulnerable to warping/cracking in an overheating situation. The older engines all have cast iron blocks/heads, and if you do something to break cast iron you are already way past wrong.


Subject: Brakes

If brakes require replacing every 20K- 30K miles the driver(s) either ride the brakes or don't know how to brake.


Subject: Repairs: Brakes

I concur. I'm a "spirited" driver and my front brakes have always lasted about 60-65,000 miles; rear brakes: 125,000+++.


Subject: Don't trust spell check

I've looked all over my owner's manual & can't find ANYTHING about BREAK fluid..

Funny how the writer screws it up under Fluids but somehow gets it correct in its own category....

from the article:

"Fluids: Transmission fluid, break fluid, and coolant can break down over time and lose their effectiveness.

Brake Check: Brake inspection should be part of your vehicle’s ongoing maintenance to ensure safety and reliability.

I Know Little to Nothing

Subject: This List Is NOT Dumb

This list is not dumb for people who know little to nothing about cars -- which I am one of. I found this list very informative, as well as the subsequent comments (even the ones that are very technical)...well, except yours -- it was ignorant. When I have the time and money I will take a basic auto course. It's all very interesting to me...except for your dumb "dumb" comment. Thanks to everyone who contributed something intelligent!


Subject: agree that this is inane

agree, especially the catchall #5 that says follow the scheduled maintenance.
If you take that as the recommendation.
Then what repair(s) should you be doing? everything recommended by the schedule
What repairs should you skip? nothing, follow the schedule.

AKA, his should just be a list of 1 item. RTFM. It tells you exactly what to maintain and at what schedule. No more, no less


Subject: oil and water change

using 100 synthetic oil I change it around 30,000 miles and never worry about it (my 79 280zx had 375,000 on it and it was still running good when sold)..however it's the radiator fluid (water) that should be changed every 2 years or more often...it's head gasket leakage that kill most engines and that's from the acid buildup on the gasket...if not the gasket it's the radiator itself that goes bad...


Subject: oil changes

Have a 2010 Camry and change that oil and cartridge every 5000 miles, and use that 0W-20 oil!!!!


Subject: reality...

The oil change thing is definitely important for older vehicles... but newer ones.. say 15 years old or less... are better engineered... and the oil is better engineered... I chance the oil on my 1999 Toyota Avalon every 10,000 miles.... and I'm at 160,000...

However, something that was not included... and will destroy your engine if it fails (and inexplicably missed this list) is the timing belt... it must be replaced ever 60 to 80 thousand miles....


Subject: oil changes in a 64 ford fairlane 200 cid , 2 speed auto

HELLO . I bought a 64 fairlane in 1998 with 41000 original miles . from a older man than myself. and i,m68 now, and this car now has 58000 original on it . i always change it in the spring and fall . with a new filter . from purolator. and use castrol 5W30 . and i have had it on 4 1200 moile trips one way . and this car does not burn a drop of oil. but i drive it not over 70 mph . i recall many yrs ago my dad , would change his oil every 1000 miles . this would be approx. 60 yrs ago. should i be changing mine at 1000 miles . as i drive mostly hwy .miles. thank you kindly. ralph smith ontario canada


Subject: Depends on the engine whether

Depends on the engine whether the timing belt is a fatal failure, if it is an interference engine (where the pistons and valves occupy the same space at different time) you will end up with belt valves/destroyed motor, if it is non-interference, a broken timing belt will simply result in a non-running engine, without internal damage.

scott failing

Subject: 5 car repair tips

my 4 banger honda civic needs oil change 2 monthes. change oil comes up on dash. remember trans fluid 3 years,30,000 miles.or smells bad burned or color change too.good timming belt. good idea.expencive if it breaks to fix...has too me it broke...

lori De Garmo

Subject: Making cars last--important things to keep up with

How right you are!! I have a 2003 VW Jetta. I was advised by my son, who has owned 3 Jettas, and is now into BMWs, that it is essential to change the timing belt before 80,000 miles and then again 160,000. If my car lasts that long (which I entirely think it will), I'll change it again at 240,000! BTW, I change the oil every 5,000 miles. I'd highly recommend the Jetta if you're looking for a car that will last a long time. My son's were at over 300,000 miles before he replaced them.



who is honest for auto repair in the78382 area code?


Subject: Honest Repair Shop

"who is honest for auto repair in the78382 area code?"

Trick question. There is no 78382 area code in the United States, and probably nowhere else in the world. Nice try though.



The "proper inflation" tip is a good one. Aside from steering, stopping, and traction benefits, you'll also get a boost in gas mileage.

You can easily drop 1-3 mpg with tires that are underinflated!


Subject: Check it with chalk

Determining 'proper inflation' can be a little tricky. Just wanted to throw out a few tips for anyone out there that may be unsure. The only time you should follow the specs on the vehicles placard, is when you are using the tires that were installed when the vehicle was manufactured. It's very rare for tires to be replaced with the exact same make/model/rating that your vehicles rolled out of the factory with. Changing to a different tires size with also make the specs on the placard irrelevant! (i.e. upgrading from 16" to 18" rims). I also tend to stray away from tire pressure gauges, due to inaccuracies(variances from one gauge to the next). Finding the "proper inflation" for your particular vehicle can be easily done with a piece of soft chalk. Simply park your vehicle on a level concrete surface(I prefer the level platform of a large empty parking garage). Mark a line w/ the chalk that goes from sidewall to sidewall. Put the vehicle in neutral and gently roll it forward until 3 complete rotation of the tire. Place the vehicle into 'park', and now inspect the ground behind your vehicle(or in front if you rolled the vehicle backwards). You should see three chalk lines, of which the length of the line should equal the width of your tread. If the lines are shorter than that of the tread width, the tires are over-inflated....reduce the pressure. If the tires are under-inflated, the lines will be slightly longer the your actual tread width....add pressure. You can also inspect the chalk line on the tire, but it's best to inspect the surface your tire actually comes in contact with. Do this for each tire, make the appropriate adjustments to the tire pressure, and you now have optimal tire pressure! It does take a little bit of time, but if you modified your vehicle in any way, you can't rely on manufacturer recommendations or charts. Last but not least, notate the pressure for each tire and use that for future adustments(i.e. monthly tire pressure check). And what ever you do, don't listen to a service technicians advise. There are too many factors that can alter what your particular application requires.


Subject: tire inflation




I have a new escape. It says to change the oil every 7500 miles, but I only drive about 4500 miles a year. Dealer says I should then change my oil every 6 months.


Subject: 7,500 mi per yr-oil changes

If your dealer recommends 6 month between oil changes, I'd do it. Your usage suggest that you drive very short distances every day. This is very hard on the oil, justifying a 6 month oil change interval. After 3,700 miles your oil will be contaminated, at 15 miles per day usage.



Well I own older GMC plumbing vans with about 105,000 miles on them. I would highly recommend changing the oil on older cars every 3k miles but I agree with alan that newer cars should be about 5k



For modern cars, using modern oil, changing the oil every 3,000 miles is MUCH TOO OFTEN. Read the owners manual. My Ford says every 7,500 miles and my Jag says every 6,000. Even under extreme conditions, changing every 3,000 miles is waste of money.

not so

Subject: not to

I disagree completely, cars these days have longer oil changes 6-7k per oil change but this is part of the marketing ploy of big car companies, change your oil every 3k and let the mechanic have a look every 6k. If you change the oil you'll save so much more money in the long run, and the car will last much longer.

Bill Ford

Subject: Recommended oil change no

Recommended oil change no sooner than every 7500 miles unless driving in the desert. Don't listen to the ads on TV or the dealers who make big profits doing oil changes. They pull the plug on as many cars as possible at the same time so they can do 5-10 an hour if busy and rake in a fortune. Don't fall for this

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.