Padding my bill?

I recently brought my car in to the dealer for my 30,000 mile check up. I admit i was a few miles over the 30,000. But when I was told that I needed a brake flush and a power steering flush. I declined.

I know nothing about cars, unfortunately. But I am the only owner of a 2006 Ford Focus. I have had no accidents with my car. I have been consistent with my so many mile inspections granted some have been done a little late. To me it seems as if they are trying to pad my bill. How can I with only about 32,000 miles need these to flushes that they want 188 bucks for.

Please help.

First, let me say that your instincts about declining those services was probably correct. But, in order to know for sure exactly which service procedures are required and which are not required, you need to start reading and following the maintenance schedule that Ford provided for you.

The maintenance schedule is in your glove compartment–either inside the Owner’s Manual, or in a separate booklet with an appropriate title–and it lists all of the service procedures that the people who designed and built your car have specified. The lists of service procedures in that book are likely to be shorter than the lists provided by the dealership simply because the dealership adds procedures that are almost always not necessary and that exist only to enhance their profit margin.

From now on, before going in for service, make a list of what is specified by Ford for that particular odometer mileage/elapsed time interval. Present that list to the service writer, and when he/she attempts to “upsell” you, just point to the list and repeat that these are the only procedures that you want them to do.

Until you read and follow the maintenance information that was provided by Ford, you may be ignoring some vital maintenance procedures or you may be having procedures done that are simply not necessary. The latter is a more likely situation.

 Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.