Go ahead. Make my day.

Two more days of “vacation” and I’ve been cranking through my “do list.” Though this day started with a couple of bright spots, I found myself bemused and frustrated by the time I got home.

The first slightly dull spot was sitting in line to have my car emissions inspected. Now, it was my bad – I waited until the end of the month. I knew it would take a while since my fellow procrastinators and I would all be there, and then twenty or thirty minutes later, I’d be done.


I surfed on my iPhone while I waited. My wallet was $14 lighter and off I went to get an oil change at the “express” lane of our dealer.

Now, normally there are no issues with this dealer. They are reasonable in their pricing, remember to do important things like attach wheels and oil pans securely, 🙂 and have a nice “express service” line to get an oil change without losing a whole day.


THIS time, the service guy wanted to “flush and clean” the power steering because the fluid was “dirty.” This car was just in for a 90,000 service and a pending maintenance item was not mentioned. And it seemed just odd, particularly since I had no problems with the power steering. So, I asked why it needed to be done today.

“We don’t like the color of it,” he said. “It will take about 30 minutes to do it.” I declined politely and said I’d ask them to check it the next time I was in for scheduled service.

It was all fine and I was pretty much ready to leave, until the service tech said, in a last ditch effort, “well, maybe you don’t understand what power steering fluid does and why it is important…”


My inner Rosie-the-Riveter came out as I explained to him that I could probably change the oil, fluids, and so on myself, and that I did indeed understand what these fluids’ functions were for my car. And that while my first cars had not had power steering or an automatic transmission, I did have enough working knowledge of car parts!

And then my inner snark just had to add, “And really. I’ve been driving cars since before you were born, and they weren’t Model T’s.” (Yeah. That was a little rude. I admit it.)

I did a little web surfing once I got home, and in the absence of problems, symptoms or malfunctions, flushing is not recommended. In fact, the maintenance manual for my car (a 2004 Honda Pilot) suggests that if the fluid is very dirty, to do a “drain and fill” three times. (Kinda like “shampoo, rinse, repeat.”) Most of the websites suggested that this is a way for an oil change place to make a quick $150.

I was not amused. We’ll have a nice chat, my regular service tech and I, the next time the car is in for scheduled maintenance… and then we’ll see.

One comment

  1. oooh – write a letter too. especially if it’s a while until your next scheduled maintenance. Think how many non-assertive people he might pressure into spending an unnecessary $150 in the interim!


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