Describe your perfect maintenance inspection

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415
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Slimy Mudhole
Describe your perfect service/maintenance inspection. Many, many years ago, before the War, the service department at the local Volkswagen dealership used to be very good. Although their prices were high I was more than happy to pay them because I knew that my car was in really good hands. Every annual service was extremely thorough, I remember that they inspected many things, battery, coolant, transmission, they lubricated every lock and hinge and the sunroof railings, cleaned the sunroof drain, rotated the tires, every time the spark plugs were changed the compression was checked, and they gave you a very detailed report about the state of your car. And their attention to the costumer was really good, one time my car broke down one block away from the dealership so I immediately went into the service department, 5 minutes later they told me I had a failed coil pack, that the coil pack wasn't available and it will take more than a month to be available, so they were unable to fix it because they could only use original parts. So right there in the service bay they taught me how to change the coil pack and told me to buy an aftermarket one. But by then one tech suggested to use the coil pack of a wrecked car that happened to be there, so they transplanted the coil pack and my car was functional again and they let me go without charging me a dime. About a year later the coil pack failed again and even though I knew how to change it, I just let them replace it. Anyway, those were the golden days, those days when spirits were brave, when men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. Now fastback into the present, into the dark times, when finding a good garage is like finding the Ark of the Covenant. Now it appears that every single dealership and private garage is just focused on offering the cheapest service they can, now the normal service is just the oil and filter change and a 15 point "safety inspection" but those inspections are really lacking because they are just a visual check and many of those points are there just to make the list longer like "check the operation of the horn", come on!!!, I use the horn every day in normal traffic and I am pretty sure I will notice when it stops working. This situation has forced me into doing the services myself but I need to compile a good check list and here is when I ask for your help. So, excluding the obvious checks that are responsibility of the driver, like tire pressures, windshield wipers, lights, fluid levels, the horn!! What are the checks or actions that must be done in a regular (yearly) service? So far I got this (I include many of these things because it was something VW did back then, I don't know if some or them are still valid or necessary) Check transmission fluid level (specially those that doesn't have a dipstick) Check brake pads and discs (measured with an instrument not just visually) Check tread depth (also with an instrument) Rotate tires Balance and alignments Lubricate seat railings Lubricate locks Test battery capacity Test battery level Pressure test the coolant system Test coolant density Scan for trouble codes Check timing belt Check PCV valve Check and adjust clutch play Adjust drum brakes Adjust hand brake Tighten wheel nuts to the specified torque Check alignment of headlamps Clean radiator Clean AC ducts and change filter What else? Or are some things in my list not necessary that often?
 
Messages
2,833
Location
Illinois, U.S.A
I'm not going to go into any detail about this but I want to express some praise of the Wickstrom auto group in Barrington, IL. They are truly top notch guys and are extremely professional. While they don't do my maintenance they do get my keys when I have a repair that will take too much time or if there's something I can't figure out.
 
Messages
1,086
Location
Gulf Coast
It is extremely hard to find a good shop these days. Luckily I found a local tire shop a few years ago that I would trust to do any kind of tire/suspension work. They are honest, happy people and their prices are very reasonable. The same guys have been working there for years and that is pretty rare these days. I have yet to find a good repair shop that I trust. Luckily for now both our cars are fairly young and should not require heavy maintenance for some time. I'm not sure what I'll do when that time comes.
 
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5,929
Location
DFW
My GF just bought a Lexus that came off lease. The Lexus dealership did their "whatever the number" point inspection. You would expect that to be pretty thorough to certify the Lexus pre-owned vehicle. I checked the tires for her out of habit. All four were nearly 10 psi low and the spare was at 30 psi (supposed to be 60). I guess tire pressure isn't pat of their "thorough" process.
 
Messages
5,763
Location
Da Swamp
The Buick GMC dealer from whom I bought the Regal had their own multi-point inspection to certify the car for the CPO warranty. Quite thorough . . . except there's no mention of the space-saver spare on the list. I checked the spare myself. It is supposed to be 60 lbs. My gauge came back with 18.5.
 
Messages
341
Location
Alaska
Well, in addition to your list I typically also do the following: Lube chassis Check for loose bolts (had a rattling crossmember once that had several loose bolts) Check hoses and elec. cabling for rub points. Secure/reinforce as necessary. Clean rubber weatherstripping and wipe with silicone Light silicone spray on window felt There may be other things but that's about all I can think of at the moment.
 
Power steering oil, differential oil level, brake fluid condition, air filter, fan belts, fan clutch, lube hood and door hinges, lube weather stripping, check u-joints or CV joints and boots, inspect exhaust system for leaks and bad/missing hangers and clamps, clean battery terminals, test alternator/charging system, check paint condition/wax, lube window channels, lube chassis,
 
Messages
5,763
Location
Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: TomYoung
Let's be honest. If this VW dealer was checking the coolant, it was not really the good old days.
Weren't there some VWs aside from the Beetle that had water-cooled engines, even in the Sixties or Seventies?
 
Messages
9,735
Location
Ontario, Canada
My perfect service/maintenance inspection is when I don't find any issues! I just get the fluids changed fairly close to the schedule and I look at the belts and hoses and battery terminals once in a while, and give the wheels a shake when I change tires for the season to see if anything is loose. I should've lubed the locks on Tracker more, but its the first car I've had that's needed it, the others have gone 10-15 years without needing it so I didn't think of it.
 
Messages
1,761
Location
PA
Most modern cars do not need anything but oil changes and tires in 4 years. Then trade them in.
 
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Messages
598
Location
TEXAS
2 weeks ago I purchased a 2008 Honda Civic sedan with 68k miles, at the insurance auction. It was totaled for hail damage, which really is only on the hood, roof and trunk lid. I had looked over the car at the auction lot closely and it was running and driving but I wanted a thorough inspection done. I towed it from the auction lot to Bob's auto repair here in Ft Worth. They called me about 4 hours later and gave me the run down of everything they checked...brakes, water pump, and about 50 other things, I was quite happy with everything they did for a 1/2 hour of labor ($40). They told me it looked like the brakes including new rotors had been done recently. The gentleman mentioned the only issue he recommended that be addressed was the transmission fluid. He went so far to tell me it was an easy drain and fill that I could easily handle if I was able to do oil changes. He said he could do it for $39 if I wanted..."ah heck yeah, call me back when your'e done!" When I went to pick up the car I noticed that all 8 car bays were full of cars, the lot was full and the shop was clean. I mentioned how impressed I was and how hard it was to find a shop that took pride in their work and workplace. That is one place I will go back to and recommend!
 
Messages
3,558
Location
SE Pa
No problems found, Fresh stickers on the windshield, An invoice for no more than the inspection fee, And the vehicle comes back in the same condition as it was dropped off in. Sometimes, even that is too much to ask of some shops . . . I know you asked about "maintenance inspections", but those I do myself every few weeks. The above one I must pay for, unfortunately.
 
Messages
609
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Originally Posted By: TomYoung
Let's be honest. If this VW dealer was checking the coolant, it was not really the good old days.
Weren't there some VWs aside from the Beetle that had water-cooled engines, even in the Sixties or Seventies?
In the seventies, yes. In the sixties? Nothing comes to mind. the offerings were the Beetle, the Karmann Ghia, the Thing, and the bus, inclding the pickup. All of them had horizontally opposed, air-cooled engines.
 

Darwin1138

Thread starter
Messages
415
Location
Slimy Mudhole
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Originally Posted By: TomYoung
Let's be honest. If this VW dealer was checking the coolant, it was not really the good old days.
Weren't there some VWs aside from the Beetle that had water-cooled engines, even in the Sixties or Seventies?
The first water cooled VW was the K70 in 1970, then the Passat in 1973 and finally in 1974 the Golf and the Scirocco
Originally Posted By: Smoky14
Darwin: before which WAR? Smoky
Well, the WTC was still standing, so it was before the War on Terror. I became a regular client of that dealership in 1999 when I traded in my air cooled VW Beetle, which I serviced myself, (those indeed were the good old days), for a SEAT Cordoba
 

Darwin1138

Thread starter
Messages
415
Location
Slimy Mudhole
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
My perfect service/maintenance inspection is when I don't find any issues!
Yes, but what do you inspect to make sure that there's nothing wrong. For example, my Renault Clio one day started to make a noise every time I went over a speed bump, after checking the suspension I found that the bushings for the control arm slipped with the movement and make the noise, all I had to do was retighten all the suspension bolts to the correct torque and the noise went away. Oddly enough, going through all the paperwork of my Volkswagen I found a couple of receipts with the order for "Retighten suspension". So, if my Renault was serviced by the VW dealer, the suspension would had been retightened in an earlier service and the noise problem would have been prevented. And that is the whole point of preventative maintenance. Specially for those of us that commute long distances because every time my car is down for repairs I have to spend money in rental cars or taxi fares.
 
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Darwin1138

Thread starter
Messages
415
Location
Slimy Mudhole
After reading your suggestions, I have compiled a list of what I think is a proper service. This list is mainly based on a fuel injected car. I know that many people do most of these things by instinct when they service their cars, but is always a good thing to have a checklist in case you forgot something. To do some of this jobs you need special tools, for example I don't have the tools to pressure test the cooling system, so maybe I will oversee a small leak that will be evident by using the tool; but at least you know the weaknesses of your service program, and as they say, knowing your weaknesses makes you strong. Finally there are some things that should be evident to the driver, (like a non functional horn), or that the driver should take care of (like the tire pressures, the tire pressure should be checked weekly not every 10,000 miles) but I include those things in here for completeness sake. This would be useful specially if you are servicing some car that you don't drive often (like friends or family). Service list (every 5K or 10K depends on your taste and driving habits) Engine. Scan for trouble codes and readiness. Change oil and filter. Reset maintenance reminder. Check integrity of engine seals (no leaks). Check positive crankcase ventilation and exhaust gas recirculation. Check condition and tension of accessory belts. Check condition of engine mounts. Check clutch play and thickness. Clean radiator. Check condition and operation of radiator fans. Check status of cooling system hoses. Check coolant density. Pressure test the cooling system. Check integrity of AC system Check fuel hoses and fuel pressure. Check condition of high voltage cables. Check condition of electrical harnesses. Check operation of the alternator and charging system. Wash engine compartment. Transmission, differential. Check oil level. Grease mechanisms. Check integrity of seals. Body. Clean drains. Clean AC ducts and change filter. Check flow and temperature of the AC. Lubricate door and hood retainers, hinges and locks. Check operation and condition of seat belts. Check visual condition of airbags. Clean interior trim. Clean and lubricate sliding mechanisms of front and rear seats. Clean and apply silicone to window guides. Clean and apply silicone to weatherstripping. Clean and lubricate sunroof guides. Check condition of paint, bumpers and windows. Check status of the frame and underbody protection. Body wash and wax. Suspension. Check condition of dampers. Check play of steering rods and ball joints. Check condition of boots of ball joints and CV joints. Check for leaks in power steering circuit. Check level of power steering fluid. Lubricate mechanisms that accept a grease gun. Brakes. Check thickness of brake pads and discs. Check the level and condition of the brake fluid. Check condition of tubes and hoses. Check handbrake, adjust if necessary. Electrical installation. Check the correct operation of the electrical system (central locking, alarm, lights, indicators, pilots, multifunction display, air conditioning, electric mirrors and elevators, defroster, radio, antenna, horn, wipers front and rear, interior lights, set clock) Check condition of exterior lights. Check and if necessary adjust the headlight alignment. Windshield washer system. Check operation, water level and condition of wipers. Check and if necessary adjust water jets. Wheels and tires. Check tire tread depth. Check presence of caps on the valves. Check tire pressure, including the spare tire. Balance and rotate tires Tighten wheel bolts to the correct torque. Check condition of wheels. Check the front end alignment. Battery. Clean base, housing and battery terminals. Load test the battery. Emission Control. Check condition of the exhaust line: brackets, hangers, clamps and no leaks. Check status of the evaporative emissions control system (activated carbon filter, purge valve, hoses). Check fuel cap seal. Check condition of the oil cap and oil dipstick. Final Inspection/Test drive. Check effectiveness of foot and hand brakes. Clutch operation and gear selection. Check correct operation of steering Check acceleration and direction of travel. Additional work to be performed at different intervals. Replace air filter Replace fuel filter. Change spark plugs and check compression. Change transmission fluid. Tighten suspension and engine mounts. Clean throttle body. Clean injectors. Tighten suspension and engine mounts. Change power steering fluid. Change coolant. Change timing belt. Change brake fluid.
 
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