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Understanding basic care. Also questions about oil changes.

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I have a 2003 Toyota Matrix. Now I don't know much about cars except change a flat and similarity basic things. The car was originally my sister's and she'll take the car for matinance all the time usually at the dealership.


I bought in the car to the dealership twice most for recalls and what not. Both times they kept the car for three days and it would cost over 1,000 in repairs. I don't go there anymore and consider the whole places to be thieves.


I usually bring my car to sears but there is a lot I don't know about cars. Sears that I go to shut down and today I bought the car to Meieke for the same oil change. Now, Sears told me if I bought a special filter I can bring the car in for an oil change every 5,000 instead of 3,000 miles. I asked meineke about the 5,000 miles, they said that the form sears gave me is not pure synthetic, and that it's 3,000 not 5,000. So I was hoping someone can shine some light on this?


As for maintenance, I just usually go to sears and tell them to fix anything that's wrong with the car. Is that when you go for maintenance? When it's inspection time?


When am I suppose to get transmission fluid change. Meike recommeded it but I said no because I wasnt' sure when that was done. To be honest, I can't remember transmission fluid being bought up by sears before.

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The general rule was every 3000 miles for an oil change, but it depends on make and model. Turns out that some dealers are now saying though that you can go longer (this article might interest you).


In general, though, the industry standard is that every 3000 miles you should usually check and consider changing engine oil, brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, and steering fluid. As for parts, usually windshield wiper blades every 6 to 12 months (depends on wear and use), battery every 5 years, brake pads every 50,000 miles, drive belt every 50,000 miles, coolant hoses every 75,000 miles, and tires every 45,000 miles.


Maintenance should be preventative though, and not only done when something is already wrong. It's also usually more expensive when something is already wrong. Plus, telling a garage to fix anything that is wrong is like asking them to rip you off. I would suggest bringing a friend with you who knows cars and see if what the garage is telling you actually holds waters, or if they are just trying to get as much money out of you as possible. I would also order parts online - I've used these guys more than once and have had some good experiences - since you can get the parts cheaper yourself and then just pay for the man hours.



Good luck!

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