Frederick Auto Repair 21701 | Spectra Auto Services, LLC (301)695-5990 | Brake Repair in Frederick, MD

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Why Free Oil Changes Are Not Free

I am amazed by the number of longtime customers that fall for the “free” oil change scam after buying a new or used car. It is tough, even after many years of having a relationship, to convince them that this “free” service is in no way free. Even after over paying or having unnecessary maintenance performed on their new car they will still chose to continue their “free” service.

This is a major money maker for dealers and can bring in huge profits for their service departments.
Let’s start with the “free” oil changes. They are not free. The price of the “free” oil change has been covered within the price of the car (sales price, lower trade in, higher financing charges, or a maintenance package added to your bottom line (loan) with interest).

The obligation… by giving you a free oil change you become a hostage to them. You are captive and have no comparison on services recommended, either if they are needed or if the cost is competitive.

Are these services really needed? Dealers generate a lot of business with over servicing your vehicle. What do I mean by over servicing? This happens when a dealer makes their own maintenance list and requires or recommends more service or earlier service than required by the manufacturer.
The scare tactic… It is used to prevent you from having your vehicle serviced anywhere else. The power of fear can be overwhelming. If you miss a service, all following free service (that you have already paid for) will be void and lost. If someone else services your vehicle the factory warranty will be affected or “harder” for them to process. Remember you are protected by law and have a choice as to who services your vehicle.

Car and Driver Magazine (July 2012 issue) did a cost comparison and found “Life Time” oil change dealers oversold maintenance regularly. In some cases, the truly required services cost $618 and the oversold maintenance was billed at $2349. So after paying for your oil change in the purchase price of your vehicle, you very well could be charged an additional $1731, on average, for service that may not really be needed.

The truth is that NOTHING IS FREE. Somehow, somewhere, these free expenses are paid for.

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Our First Blog Post

This is the first entry for Spectra Auto’s new blog. We will try to bring you some helpful, and hopefully entertaining, information for you car, or just fun items.

September is a special time at here Spectra. The Great Frederick Fair is back for it’s 154th year. For the past 3 years, Kim and I have taken her horse Hadley to the fair to support and promote The Frederick County 4H Therapeutic Riding Program. Kim started as a volunteer over 10 years ago, after both our kids had left home for college. I started not long after she did. This was our way of coping with the “empty nest” syndrome. We quickly learned what a wonderful and fulfilling experience this would be. Kim became more and more involved, and eventually became a teacher at the program. 2 years ago, Kim became a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, PATH, certified instructor. The program has 58 – 70 riders that ride during the 3 sessions throughout the year. Each rider has different disability. This is especially challenging for the instructors to come up with different, and fun, activities to help everyone’s needs. It is amazing to see the results from the sessions and very fulfilling to be part of it. The program has riders who started as small children and now are adults. There is a bond that develops between horse and rider, and it is truly amazing. I get re-energized with the time I spend with each student, and fell blessed to be part of their lives.

We are always looking for volunteers or donations. If you would like more information, check out the program website

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