Ask Andy: Say "Whoa!" to your mechanic

(WMC TV) - When your mechanic recommends a flush, it's time for show-and-tell.

Ted Archer, the owner and chief mechanic of Archer's Auto Care in Southeast Memphis for 30 years (, BBB rating: A), said consumers should always ask their mechanics to demonstrate why their vehicles need a flushing service.

"There are flushes that are needed, but there are some that may be unnecessarily sold," Archer said.

"Most vehicles today do not need any type of fluid services other than oil changes (or fluid refills) until you approach the 50,000-mile mark or more on your vehicle," he added.

Archer said questionable flushes include:




"If a mechanic recommends a brake fluid or power steering fluid flush, ask to look at the condition of the fluid," said Archer. "If it's a dark black -- like oil -- then a flush is likely necessary, but if not, refuse the service."

"You don't flush engine oil. You change engine oil," he continued. "Most of the motor oils used today carry a lot of detergent cleaner within the oil, and it is a self-cleaning product every time you change your oil.

"So if you're being sold a flush for engine oil -- crank case -- change your oil more often and see if that doesn't remedy the problem."

On other auto services, you should never cut corners. Archer said if your mechanic recommends one of these, do them:

* TRANSMISSION FLUSH. Between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

* ENGINE COOLANT CHANGE. "The coolant actually begins to break down internally and sets up an electrical charge within the system," Archer said, "which can cause failures, which can cause leaks with your water pump, heater core, radiator and other components." Archer recommended an engine coolant change every five years.



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