Well, I have my car back from the shop. Good news: the car works and I haven’t seen any warning lights since Friday. Bad news: it cost a little more than expected. As in $2185….eek! Good enough news: the repairs cost less than a new car engine.
So what the heck cost $2185? As a refresher, I have a 2003 VW Passat with a 1.8T engine and approximately 108,000 miles. I knew I needed a new timing belt and fluid flush, which were going to cost about $1,000. They also needed to clean the oil pick-up and replace the front flex pipe since there was an exhaust leak. There were some other issues with the timing and misfiring of some of the cylinders in the engine, but that was covered by a recall.
Going forward, I’m going to be sure to follow these car maintenance guidelines. Especially before making long drives. I’m looking at you, St. Louis:
- Follow the regular maintenance schedule, this includes oil changes at the required times
(generally three months or 3,000 milescheck your owner’s manual).
- Edit: Stephanie left a great comment. “Just a little tip, 3,000 miles is pretty old school for an oil change. When I worked at Chrysler I learned quite a bit of ins and outs of cars and most cars are built to go 10,000 miles in between oil changes now- the dealerships and auto repair places just don’t tell you that because they want your $$. :) *Disclaimer- She is not an auto mechanic. :)”
- Upon review of my owner’s manual, my car can go 5,000 miles between oil changes.
- Check tires for wear or damage and correct tire pressure.
- Check the level of windshield washer fluid and add as necessary. This is especially important in the winter.
- Check the car’s interior and exterior lighting system for correct functioning.
- You might be able to replace the light yourself. Refer to your owner’s manual or search for videos on YouTube.
- Check the engine oil level. The oil level should be between the two hash marks on the dip stick. I just learned how to do this in May 2011….ooops.
- Wash and vaccuum the car regularly. Especially in the winter when the road salt can eat at your paint finish.
- Change the air filter every twelve months or 10,000 to 12,000 miles. If you live in a dusty area, change it sooner.
Side note: Since the car is 8 years old we also considered whether it was even worth it to repair the car. If we wanted to sell the car, the repairs would have to be made in order to make the car drivable. Kelley Blue Book valued the car between $3,200 and $4,800. Then we would buy a “new” used car. Since we wouldn’t be losing money by repairing and selling down the line, we decided to repair and drive the car a little longer. We’ll reevaluate this decision if the car needs another major repair.
Do you have any other car maintenance tips?