Last minute tune-up?
June 14, 2009 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Should I take my car in for any sort of maintenance before the warranty expires?

The warranty is about ready to expire on my '06 Subaru Impreza. Should I take it in for any sort of warranty-covered maintenance before it expires? Everything seems to be running great and when I take it in for routine maintenance (not at the dealer) everything checks out ok. I'm certainly not an expert though- is there anything I should check, or have checked?
posted by JuiceBoxHero to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
No, your car isn't going to spontaneously fall apart when the warranty is up. Just look at the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual and perform those services as noted.

If you take your car in to a dealer for a random "maintenance", they will use it as an excuse to "visually inspect" things, which costs somewhere around $80/hr for labor.

On my Honda, the dealership wanted over $400 to perform the "30,000 mile service". I looked in my owners manual, and the items performed at that mileage were an oil change and an air filter change. I ordered the air filter online, installed it myself, had the dealership perform only the oil change (only because I don't want to deal with oil disposal), and saved myself $350.

Dealerships are set up to profit from people's lack of knowledge.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:00 PM on June 14, 2009

If you haven't had your car into the dealer in a while, it wouldn't hurt to make sure that any and all Required Vehicle Updates have been performed before your warranty expires.
An RVU is a free-to-the-customer action that isn't quite a recall, but it's more important than a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin). An RVU typically consists of an updated part or software that preempts failure of a problem area, as determined by the manufacturer. If there's a recall, the manufacturer is required by the DOT to notify you. They're not required to do that with an RVU, so you wouldn't know it exists until you take your car to Subaru.
So, take it in and make sure there aren't any outstanding campaigns that should be performed. You also could probably call the dealer and give them your VIN number and have them check for you.

Dealerships are set up to profit from people's lack of knowledge.
That's your limited experience. Most of us provide excellent service at a reasonable price.

posted by Jon-o at 8:46 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Anecdotes: My Honda dealership proactively found and fixed some broken motor mounts during a routine oil change. That's why I kept going back to them for regular maintenance even though they might charge a bit more than a Jiffy-Lube. I asked them next time to take a quick look around for any warranty-covered problems, and they didn't charge me anything extra. Auto Park Honda in Cary, North Carolina, FWIW.
posted by tybstar at 9:08 PM on June 14, 2009

"Dealerships are set up to profit from people's lack of knowledge."

Mighty broad brush.
posted by bz at 9:37 PM on June 14, 2009

Unless you just brought it for a regular maintenance somewhere I don't see why you wouldn't take it in now just to be safe. They might find something, they might not. If they do find something and its under warrantee you're golden. If they don't find anything you've just paid for a regular maintenance. Is there anything that you've noticed lately at all, funny noises while starting cold, light bulbs burnt out in hard to change places, windows and locks working ok, etc? Just have them check it out. Even little things become surprisingly expensive after the warrantee runs out.

(ps I know you didn't ask, but I thought I'd mention that I bought an extended warrantee from my dealership before the original one expired and while it was expensive it was definitely worth it for me, I ended up having to get some serious repairs done that more than equaled the price of the extended warrantee.)
posted by kms at 10:41 PM on June 14, 2009

Toyota's schedule includes a (yearly?) check-up for about $100 where they inspect quite a few points in your car. On my old car (which I gave to a family member and is still running perfectly after over 8 years), a couple of problems were found this way before they caused any headaches. It was definitely worth taking the car in for the check-up once each year or two, even after the warranty expired.

If Subaru has the same check-up service, I would recommend taking it there and doing that check-up. Your dealership necessarily has a lot of experience with your model/year of car, and they know which problems are more likely to occur. The technician might know, for example, that such-and-such part is more likely to fail on '06 Imprezas, so he will particularly check that.

Dealerships get a bad rep for trying to screw you, but most are quite honest.
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:19 AM on June 15, 2009

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