St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

By Joe DiFeo
GM-partner Volkswagen of St. Augustine 

3 Keys to Keeping Your Car Safely On the Road and Minimizing Repair Expenses


August 1, 2019 | View PDF

You’re busy juggling everything that life throws at you. If you’re like most of us, you probably take for granted that your car will be there for you. Thankfully, today’s vehicles don’t require much to keep them on the road. A little attention will go a long way in ensuring you are safe and not looking at a big repair bill down the line. Following these three easy keys will help you keep on truckin’!

Key 1 – Know your maintenance interval

In the old days, dad preached to us to get our oil changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Who’s got time for that these days! Don’t stress - if your car is 2010 or newer, it most likely only requires an oil change once yearly or 7,500 to 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. Newer vehicles will alert you with a symbol on the dash when your vehicle is due for service. Don’t ignore it and make sure your shop resets it when they complete the maintenance. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations on timing, oil type and filter for your specific vehicle you’ll keep your engine running smoothly.

Every oil change should include an inspection of your car’s wearable items including belts, hoses, filters, etc. Make sure your shop reviews this inspection with you. These items should be replaced if they are showing signs of wear to avoid breakdowns and costly repairs.

If your car’s service interval is greater than 6,000 miles, there’s one thing that could benefit from more frequent attention – your tires. Since tires don’t wear evenly between front and rear axles, frequent rotation and balancing will extend their life. Non-profit,, recommends rotating tires every 6,000 miles.

Key 2 – Don’t skip the major maintenance recommendations

If you keep your car for more than 40,000 miles, you need to complete other maintenance aside from oil changes, including brake fluid changes, spark plug replacement, transmission fluid changes, and timing belt replacement. These other services are essential to keeping all systems in your car operating smoothly over the long-term and completing them on time helps lessen the chance of major repairs and expenses down the road.

These services are typically completed at your normal oil change intervals. Your car will have a specific schedule of these items recommended by the manufacturer.

Key 3 – Maintain a Relationship with a trusted repair shop

If you get this key down, the others will fall in place easily. In this Amazon Age, I’m sure you already know your first step – ask your friends and read online reviews. In reading reviews, it’s great to see lots of positive ones, but it’s equally important to see how the ones with issues are handled. Does it appear the shop is responsive and works to resolve the customer’s issue? That is a great sign that you are on the right track.

When visiting a shop, trust your senses. A clean waiting area with amenities, smiling attendants and customers, and an organized and clean work area are great indicators that the shop is diligent and customer-centered.

Finally, ask questions. If the advisor won’t break things down for you in plain English you might want to move on. Ask to see a part they claim is worn or bad, and even ask them to bring you to the shop to show you what they are talking about.

In summary, if you know your service interval, complete the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations, and establish a relationship with a repair shop you trust, your car will be there for you when you need it (everyday!) and you’ll be less likely to have to reach deep into your pocketbook for major repairs!

Joe DiFeo operates Volkswagen of St. Augustine, the newest new car dealership in St. Augustine, and one of eighteen DiFeo family dealerships on the East Coast. This article was excerpted and adapted from his book– The Insider’s Guide to How and Where to Buy a Car: Strike a Deal at the Dealership. You can find it on Amazon or better yet stop by Volkswagen of St. Augustine for a free copy! Volkswagen of St. Augustine • • (904) 342-3052.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019