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Going to the dealer for hybrid maintenance or trusting my dad?

My dad is a mechanic with over 30 years of experience and renowned for his skills in our area. He owned an auto shop and has been the manager of a few. However, I drive a 2005 Civic Honda Hybrid (with a little over 100,000 miles). I am moving next week from Texas to California and will be driving my car. I had scheduled an appointment at the local Honda agency so that my car could get a thorough check-up. They quoted me close to $800 for fluids replacement (including break fluid which my dad says is bull) and sparkplug replacement, tires, and all the stuff that I understand to be basic maintenance. My dad says they are charging me for stuff they won’t even do (as all agencies do) and that he can take care of all the basic maintenance. If my car was a national non-hybrid kind, I would not hesitate for a millisecond in entrusting the car to my dad. But, I’m afraid he might miss something important since this is a new technology. He also insists there car makes a weird sound at take-off, and I think that hybrids just sound like that. I have not noticed any difference in my car performance since I bought it (used) in 2007. I still have a couple of years left to pay on this car, and would like it to last me at least 5 more years. Would you please give me advice on whether I should take it to the Honda agency for the thorough check up, whether the noise could be something that needs to get checked, and whether I should stop being afraid that only a certified Hybrid mechanic can maintain my car (do those mechanics exist?)? Thank you!!!

why dont you let your old dad have a go at it, and make a list of all the things he has checked and fixed or adjusted. Then compare that list to the dealer (who has a high overhead and a large profit motive not share by dear old dad). If you still feel the need for corporate comfort, you can then take it in to the dealer, and give them the new shortened list of things to check, and you better get a new shortened estimate too.

The only things that need “maintenance” are the same on all cars…Tires, spark plugs, fluid changes, nothing unique about that. The main battery is probably in it’s twilight years but there is nothing Honda or Dad can do about that…If it’s not broken, don’t fix it…

Go through your owner’s manual, make a list of all items that need to be done to bring it up to date on maintenance (and brake fluid changes are likely one of them, have him do that, it’s important). He can certainly handle everything that’s not directly hybrid related, it’s all the same. There might not be anything left for the dealer to do once he gets done.

One question: is your dad still an active mechanic? If he is, I’d definitely trust him to get the car ready. If it’s been some years, and he’s not familiar with this particular vehicle, than I wholeheartedly agree with those who say let him do everything he thinks needed and make a list, then compare it with the recommended maintenance in your owners’ manual package.

On the bright side, it doesn’t appear that it has a timing belt to change out, atleast not according to Gates’ website. you’d be due to change it out right now if it did have one.

The university where I am employed has a large fleet of vehicles including Honda Civic hybrids. The mechanics at our motor pool service these Civic hybrids as well as diesel engines and the diesel/hybrid buses in the fleet. Neither the Civic hybrids nor the recently acquired Prius cars go to the dealers for servicing. Apparently, these mechanics are up to the job. Both my wife and I have been assigned Civic hybrids from the fleet and neither of us has had a problem on the road with the Civic hybrids or any of the other non-hybrid vehicles which we have been assigned. The gasoline engine part of the Civic hybrid is works the same as any other gasoline engine. Several of the hybrids have gone more that 100,000 miles and are now just used locally. I think you can trust your maintenance to your dad for fluid changes, spark plug replacement, etc.

I see no reason dad can’t do the work. 99% of the work is the same as its non-hybrid brothers.

Dad needs to get up to speed - brake fluid changes are the way to go . In fact I recall a friends father having it done on his '53 Olds at the dealers in '56 . Brake fluid absorbs moisture and the last thing you need is losing the brakes because the fluid boiled .