Inflammatory Scare Tactics
Pete, I was told by my dealership that my car's valve cover gasket is leaking and needs to be replaced, as does the PCV valve grommet. I was there for just an oil change, yet it seems like almost every time I take it in they tell me something else is wrong with the car. Needless to say, I am skeptical, but what really irritated me was when they told me that the car could catch fire if I didn't take care of this (which I felt was a scare tactic). Is this true about the car catching fire? I have asked other people, and they say no. Plus, they have told me that if this was indeed the problem, I would see globs of oil dripping onto the pavement and a noticeable smell (neither of which has happened). Please help. Thank you.
Bob, I would stick with the advice from the folks other than your dealer! It sounds like a scare tactic to me as well. I agree that if there was enough oil to catch fire, you would have noticed an odor and/or oil drops on your driveway. To be on the safe side of keeping your vehicle in top running condition, I suggest you get another visual inspection of the vehicle, perhaps at a shop in the AAA Approved Auto Repair Network. (You can find local approved shops at AAA.com/Auto.) If that inspection determines that the vehicle is okay, I would start searching for another place to get your car serviced.
Pete, I took my car in for normal service, and the service advisor told me I needed to service my transmission because my fluid was "burnt." I was taken aback when he brought the transmission dipstick into the office and smelled it right in front of me. Is this normal, or did he have a flair for the dramatic?
Anne, depending on several variables, it is very possible your transmission fluid did have a "burnt" look and smell. In most cases, my suggestion is to follow the manufacturer's recommendation regarding maintenance intervals. There are circumstances where additional services are needed, such as extreme driving conditions, hotter than normal temperatures, etc. It's important to note that excessively burnt fluid may be an indication of an underlying issue. If that is the case, you may want to consider having a transmission specialist inspect your vehicle.
Pete, I recently found a used car on AAA.com with great credentials (one owner/Carfax approved/certified by dealer). I test drove it and loved it. Do you think it is still necessary to spend the money on having a mechanic check it out? And who would you recommend to inspect it? It's a 2008 Nissan with 14,500 miles.
Linda, if it is certified pre-owned, the car has been gone over already. If you did decide to have your own technician inspect the vehicle, it would just be for your own peace of mind. This is another situation where you could take advantage of AAA's Approved Auto Repair shops.
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