1. Oils Ain’t oils!
As Sol used to say in that Castrol ad many years ago, oils ain‘t oils. And when it comes to car servicing for modern cars, this old saying is especially true today. Let’s start with engine oils, the most commonly changed oil during car servicing. Most people will have heard of semi-synthetic and fully synthetic engine oils. Many people will also be familiar with oil weights (or viscosity), as these are printed on the labels, expressed as 0W-20, 5W-30 etc. But that’s just the start. There is also an SAE grading system, an ACEA grading system and to make the choice even more complex, many car makers have an approval system where they “approve” certain oil for use in their vehicles during car servicing. What this all means is that a fully-synthetic 5W-30 engine oil may be the right oil for one vehicle, but the wrong oil for another.
In fact, to make sure we have the right oil for every car service, we stock four different 5W-30 fully synthetic engine oils. There’s Mobil Super 3000 Formula V for late model Hiluxes, Mobil Super 3000 Formula FE for Ford Rangers, Mobil 1 5W-30 for most Japanese vehicles, plus most cars made by GM and Ford, and Mobil 1 ESP 5W-30 for most European vehicles and late model Mitsubishis. This oil also has specific approvals from VW, Mercedes-Benz, GM and Porsche.
But when it comes to car servicing, engine oils are just the start. There’s also a wide range of gear oils in varying weights and specifications; a vast array of auto transmission fluids, some of which are specific to just a single car brand; brake fluids; power steering fluids and even coolant. In each case, it’s important to use the fluid specified by the car maker in order to get the most out of your vehicle in terms of reliability and performance.
2. You Don’t Have to Get Your Car Serviced by the Dealer to Maintain Your New Car Warranty
This is a common misconception about car servicing that isn’t adequately addressed by the media. Under Australian consumer law, you have the right to choose who services your car. You can take it back to the dealer you brought it from, take it to a workshop that deals in a different brand (for example, many Ford workshops will happily service your Holden) or you can take your car to an independent workshop like The Torque Team.
But it’s important to remember that in order to maintain your warranty, car servicing has to be done in accordance with the car manufacturer’s specifications. This is why we are so fussy about oils and other fluids. Because when our customers trust us to service their new car, we want to make sure we’re protecting their warranty by performing the car service exactly in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, including using the correct oils and other fluids.
3. There isn’t Anything Special about Servicing Electric Cars
When it comes to car servicing, the media is presenting electric cars (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) as beyond the capability of ordinary independent workshops. I recall seeing a TV segment from the US, reporting that independent mechanics will soon be a thing of the past as car servicing work on conventional vehicles dries up. But there isn’t anything special about electric cars. Sure, they have a big battery pack and an electric motor rather than an internal combustion engine, but otherwise there’re much the same as any other vehicle on the road. Same suspension and braking systems, same 12V lighting and electrical systems, same A/C systems etc. All things most mechanics deal with every day.
As an industry, we’ve developed and are delivering the training needed for all mechanics to gain the skills and knowledge they need to perform car servicing on EVs and PHEVs. This training is available to every trade qualified mechanic, regardless of whether they work for Tesla, Kia, Audi or your local mechanic down the road. And from 1 July 2022, all car makers will be required by Australian law to make car servicing information available to independent workshops, including the capability to provide customers with software updates. So, if you own an EV or PHEV, you still have the same car servicing choice as owners of conventional vehicles.