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First, I turned to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which since has tested and certified repair and service professionals, including dealers and independent mechanics. That means they drive off the lot and rarely, if ever, return to the dealer. So my first question is this: If something goes wrong when the car is under warranty, and all of us who abandoned our dealers have to return tails between our legs to the dealer, will our warranties be voided? In most cases, no. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of — which applies to all sorts of products, not just cars — ensures that except in rare instances, a dealer must honor the warranty.

You do, however, need to be sure that nothing is done to the car that expressly voids the warranty.

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Some warranties, for instance, may prohibit specific cosmetic changes. And you want to make sure to keep all service records so that if there is a problem with the car and you need to return to the dealer, you can prove it got regularly serviced. You should know when your car is still under warranty and what that warranty covers.

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Otherwise, if something goes wrong within three years after you bought your car — which is the average time a car is covered in full — and if your independent mechanic is unscrupulous or ignorant, you may end up paying a lot of money for something you would have gotten free at the dealer. So how do you decide? Dealer or independent?

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Not surprisingly, the answer to some extent depends on whom you ask. Nobody knows the car better than these technicians.

We're more than just an oil change.

He also noted that car dealerships had access to daily bulletins sharing information about fixing vehicles. These included common repairs jobs like brake work, transmission repairs and window replacements. But Brian Hafer, vice president of AutoMD, said car owners should not look just at the labor costs but at the bottom line. Especially in newer model cars needing complex repairs, dealers will sometimes have more sophisticated diagnostic equipment than independents. Also, Mr. Then, it will be fixed free before your warranty expires. Customers, he said, should check if the repair shop has a blue seal of excellence — about , mechanics nationwide do.

Consumers can find mechanics that are blue seal-certified through the Automotive Service Excellence Web site, www. He acknowledged that as cars became increasingly computerized, the equipment to diagnose and repair them was also becoming more expensive. Walsh said. Whether you choose a dealer or independent, there are ways to try to get the best deal possible. First of all, become informed. There is no better time to start than National Tire Safety Week in May to start checking tire press [ Summer's high temperatures can take a toll on everyone — and everything, including your car.

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Payment Types. Service air conditioner. Check condition of all belts and lines. Evacuate and recharge with reclaimed R Test system performance. Lubricate and check chassis. Change oil and oil filter.

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  • Check air filter and breather filter. Check all fluid levels and tire pressures. Preform basic safety inspection. Road test vehicle. Check front brake disc rotor condition. Replace or resurface rotors. Clean and lubricate brake calipers and slide mechanisms. Check and fill brake fluid. Bleed air from system.

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    Road test and verify engine performance, transmission operation, and shift patterns. Flush transmission which includes: flushing of transmission cooler, cooler lines, valve body, and torque converter.

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    Flush all contaminated fluid out and replace with f Inspect hoses and clamps. Pressure test cooling system. Flush engine, radiator, and heater core in both directions. Bring antifreeze to degrees. PH balance coolant to between 9. Check thermostat and electric cooling fan operation. Chec Check brake fluid for moisture and contamination. Inspect all hydraulic line and hoses. Inspect calipers and wheel cylinders. Inspect master cylinder and cap. Flush entire brake system including master cylinder, calipers, wheel cylinders until clean.