Drivers beware; we have apparently reached a point in automotive history where the bottom line is more important than the safety of drivers, their passengers and pedestrians. No more morality, no more social conscience; just say anything to make money.

It’s a couple of ads by a chain of quick lubes suggesting that repair shops who legitimately check items that keep cars safe and reliable are crooks. The ads use key-word language like a women who doesn’t want to be “fleeced” or repair shops just try to sell you things “whether they’re needed or not.” Words designed to make money from exploiting driver’s fears.

They go on to say we don’t fix things implying that anything they don’t do doesn’t need to be done. Follow that advice and you’ll save money for a while but sooner or later the laws of physics will catch you. Everything mechanical wears out. Hopefully you’ll only spend a lot more money than you would have if you had been getting routine checkups. But, the consequences of a steady diet of no checkup quick-lube-only service could cost a lot more than money, it could cost a life.

Quick lubes do not replace ball joints, tie rod ends, steering racks, control arm bushings, and hundreds of other repairs that keep a car safe to drive. But these are all items that are so potentially dangerous they need to be checked once or twice a year. A ball joint holds the wheel to the car’s suspension and they all wear out. If a worn ball joint isn’t caught in a routine inspection it could separate causing the wheel to become disconnected from the car. At highway speeds that could cause a total loss of control.

The same is true of tie rod ends which connect the steering wheel to the car’s wheels so you can steer the car. Again these are wear items and if you don’t catch a worn tie rod end before it fails your steering wheel will no longer be connected to one or both wheels, leaving you with no way to steer.

This type of advertising is particularly dangerous for people who are suspicious of repair shops or those who don’t know anything about cars. Both groups are prone to poor service habits anyway and these ads reinforce their mistaken beliefs leaving them vulnerable to higher costs and potentially extreme dangers.

Just because some quick lube ad writer says if we don’t do it, it doesn’t need to be done doesn’t make it true. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to quick lubes but at least twice every year have full service performed on your car to make sure it’s safe to drive.


© Copyright 05/22/12 Pat Goss all rights reserved, 450 words.


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