Every vehicle ever made has required preventive maintenance. Now the most basic of that maintenance is changing the oil, and the oil filter, and checking the various fluid levels under the hood of the car. And that’s basically what you get in quick service. But there’s a lot more to a car than fluids and lubricants. You see, there are wear parts underneath the car. Things like brakes for instance. The brake pads wear out. Rotors wear. Things like that. They need to be checked. Ball joints: they support the vehicle, they allow the wheels to be steered and so on. They’re a wear item and they need to be checked routinely.

Tie-rod ends, steering racks, all of things are parts that wear out. They’re all relative to safety as well. See if you don’t keep up with these things, and one of them fails? The wheel could come off, the brakes could fail, you could lose the ability to steer the car. So that means that periodically, preferably every other service, you should go to a full-service shop that offers this as part of their oil change. Now that means that you won’t be in-and-out quite as quick, because these checks take some time, but often it won’t cost any more money. And you’ll have a knowledge of what is worn, what is wearing and will soon be worn out, so that you can plan the repairs that you’re going to need in order to keep the car safe.

Other things that will be different; things like the transmission for instance. Today’s transmissions don’t have dip-sticks, so you can’t check the fluid level or anything by pulling the dip-stick out. You have to actually connect a computer scanner to a computer interface inside the car, and you warm the car up to a certain temperature, and then you take a reading on the scanner, and there’s a plug that you remove on the bottom of the transmission, and…it’s a little bit complicated. But it is something that periodically should be done.

I’m not by any means saying that you shouldn’t go to a quick-lube, but what I am saying is that every other visit you should be going to a full-service shop, so that you maintain a safe car.

And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.