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Here Are a Few Ways to Avoid Auto Repair Shop Scams

People are learning that to get the maximum mileage out of a car, you have to do proper maintenance.

Many are afraid because they do not know what to believe when a repair shop tells them they need something preventive. In a 2016 American Automobile Association study, two out of three U.S. drivers said they did not trust auto repair shops -- citing overcharges, unnecessary service and poor past experiences.

Whether it is a dealer or a repair shop, they are going to suggest things that need to be done. Doing these things won't hurt anything, but remember, that is how they make money. Go by what the manufacturer suggests.

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Replacing air filters

Here are some common things that are suggested and not necessary, like replacing the air filter. A lot of repair places want to change it every time they change the oil. Unless you travel on a lot of dirt roads, a year or 15,000-20,000 miles, is generally fine. Check your factory maintenance guide, but that is a general rule.

Fluid flushes

This is a big item. If a vehicle is well maintained, don't consider flushing after a vehicle gets to 75,000 miles or so. These machines are high pressure and the risk of blowing out seals and gaskets is much greater than the reward.

Oil changes

Oil is much better than it used to be, and even under the worst conditions, 5,000 miles is plenty often. See what the manufacturer calls for and stick to that. Also, check the sticker they leave on your windshield, some places will place the interval at 3,000 miles. If you don't notice it until later, you could change it too often.

Fuel injectors

Another item is fuel injector cleaning. Some shops recommend this every 10,000 miles. With the detergent in today's gasoline, this is not necessary, every 35,000 to 40,000 miles will serve you well.

Where to get your service done

If you have a repair shop or dealership you trust, stick with them. If you don't, there is nothing wrong with shopping by phone or Internet. You will often find a difference in prices for the same operation. You can also get a feel for how friendly and efficient a place is.

Go with your gut

Don't assume a dealership is more expensive. Dealerships have been forced to get more competitive on common things. Factory certified technicians versus a technician who works on a Mercedes and then a Kia, is a plus. Be smart, it will save you time and money.

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