often do I need to do recommended maintenance?
Read your warranty very carefully. The manufacturer's warranty and/or your extended warranty may depend on having certain maintenance performed according to a pre-determined schedule. Keep all receipts as proof of maintenance performed. Make sure all work is done exactly as specified in the manufacturer's maintenance schedule and thoroughly documented.
Your car's service manual has recommended schedules for maintenance. Review it before your visit to the shop. Make copies of the pages you need and keep them handy when you are dropping off your vehicle. Use them as a reference to ensure that necessary maintenance is performed in a timely fashion and that you are not getting unneeded services. This simple step can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your car.
The repair facility should provide a report detailing the results of any inspection and/or work that was completed.
Who can perform my Manufacturer Recommended Maintenance?
Many independent repair shops can perform these services at costs that are very competitive with dealerships. They have access to the same information that franchised dealers have about model-specific problems and they may be familiar less expensive aftermarket parts that perform just as well as manufacturer parts.
The Magnusen-Moss Act of 1975 prohibits new car dealers from implying or denying warranty service because routine scheduled maintenance was performed at an independent repair facility. (Magnusen-Moss Act (1975) Title 15 Chapter 50-Section 2301-2312
Use Maintenance to Establish a Relationship
The shop you use for your maintenance should be the same one you will want to do your major repairs. This allows you to establish a relationship with the mechanic and the mechanic to become familiar with your car and its history. This will be especially helpful when you are faced with a major repair.