What do I really have to "tune up"?

#1

I took my car in to the dealer the other day to have them check out a computer glitch. Of course, they found 900 other things they feel I need to have done. I’m wondering, what is REALLY necessary to fix/check? If it helps, I have a 2005 Jetta that is only a little over 3 years old and has about 49,500 miles on it.



To check: V belt/ribbed belt; battery electrolyte level; engine, transmission, and exhaust system for leaks; driveshaft; diagnostics; headlights; power steering fluid; front axle.



To replace: spark plugs, pollen filter



Any info is appreciated!

#2

Check your owner’s manual. Follow the instructions therein for what should be serviced.

Ignore the offers from the dealer to provide any other service, they are money makers for the dealer and never required.

#3

The owner’s manual will tell you what needs to be inspected and/or replaced, and when.

Dealers love to add extra “service,” which makes extra profit, but the only things necessary are the things listed in the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.

Most batteries are sealed these days. I wonder how they check the electrolyte level?

#4

Here’s a shot without owner’s manual, but based on my personal experiences and preferences:

To check: V belt/ribbed belt; battery electrolyte level; engine, transmission, and exhaust system for leaks; driveshaft; diagnostics; headlights; power steering fluid; front axle.
…You can do all these things yourself. Battery electrolyte level really means put in distilled water if low, or do nothing if a true maintenance free battery.

To replace: spark plugs, pollen filter Given 50K miles and no evidence that these have been changed in the past, yes.

Check your Jetta owner’s manual, but changing plugs at this point is seldom a bad idea.
Also recommend identifying a good independent mechanic to do any work you cannot do; it will be much cheaper than the dealer in the long run. Once a relationship is established, then some of these “checks” get done free nearly every time your mechanic sees you car.

#5

There is absolutely no reason for car maintenance to be a mystery, since the necessary information has been provided by the car’s manufacturer, and that information is sitting only about 3 feet from the driver’s seat.

  1. Open glove compartment
  2. Locate Owner’s Manual
  3. Read section pertaining to scheduled maintenance
  4. When visiting dealership or any other facility for scheduled maintenance, give them a list of the exact procedures listed in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for the odometer mileage and/or the elapsed time since the car was put into service.
  5. Decline services that go beyond the manufacturer’s list unless you can be given a VERY good rationale for them. Double check suggestions for additional maintenance in this forum.