Getting the best price on a single service, might seem like the smart way to have services performed on your vehicle, but it does not always mean that you are getting the best value or the best service for your vehicle. The best way to explain this is by doing some comparisons on how we perform maintenance and repairs on other things.

The industry that is most comparative to vehicle maintenance and repair, is the dental industry with maintenance and repairs that are performed on your teeth, roots and gums. Usually, the common practice is to find a dentist and dental practice that we feel comfortable with, that we feel offer good value and customer service that substantiate the price of the services. We trust their experience and skill based on the services they have provided to us and perhaps others that we know, and we feel their prices overall fall within range that is comparable to other dental offices within our area.

Generally, most people do not perform cleanings at one dentist, then fluoride treatments at another, then move on to someone else to do the x-rays and again to someone else for fillings, or bounce back and forth based on who has the best price for each service. Staying with one main dentist, ensures accuracy of history records, the dentist knows your mouth and what work has been performed, what needs to be monitored and any future maintenance that may need to be performed.

Your vehicle repairs and maintenance are very much the same. If you find a trusted repair facility, and you have all your services performed there, oil changes, tire rotates, transmission services, tune-ups and any repairs needed, they will have complete records with all the history on your vehicle. They will get to know your driving habits and can closely evaluate and prepare you ahead of time for repairs and maintenance. If you hare having your vehicle regularly serviced they can also generally catch repairs when they are small, before they cause further damage and therefore save money in the long run. For instance, in regards to brake replacement time, your trusted repair facility can indicate ahead of time, when it will be due so that you can budget for the repair and not ruin other brakes parts by running the brakes down to metal.

Most important, when you have a computer diagnostic issue or an engine performance issue, we definitely recommend having the vehicle diagnosed, where you intend to have it repaired. Otherwise you will either have to pay a diagnostic charge at each shop, or the facility that performs the repairs cannot warranty that the repair will take care of the issue that needed to be diagnosed. Much like having one dentist perform an inspection and x-rays, and another dentist perform a tooth repair without the inspection and x-rays that substantiate that repair.

Finding a trusted repair facility and developing a relationship with them, like you do with your dentist, will give you the best overall value and service for your vehicle. Look at the big picture, not each individual service and its price point. Having good vehicle history, knowing your driving habits and regularly inspecting your vehicle, gives a repair facility and their technicians the tools that they need to perform consistent, quality maintenance, service and repairs on your vehicle at the best value.

Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at [email protected], you can also visit our website at

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