February 27, 2024

Automotive Breakdown… by Denny Mandeville, Owner/Canyon Automotive, Sedona


“Maintenance Free”, another way of saying “pay me now, or pay me later”. Maintenance free is also another term for deferred replacement, and as many of us have found out, later is often more expensive and inconvenient. In the effort to make automobile ownership more attractive the manufacturers are trying to sell convenience by reducing the amount of time a new car owner is going to be separated from the car- at least through the warranty period.

By using such methods as the “change oil” light in the driver information screen, the manufacturers are removing the owner from the responsibility of actually thinking and taking care of a very costly investment. Nothing quite replaces the peek under the hood, actually checking the oil, and other fluid levels before that strange noise or steam emanates from under the hood.


One of our staff, while looking at a newer car for her daughter was told by the salesman “you don’t have to do a thing to it.” What about oil changes the mom asked? “Oh, yeah- the car will tell you when, but that’s all that’s needed for 5 years”. Cars are more reliable than in years past- but they are also more expensive to repair- according to latest reports, increasing 2% each year. Per AAA the average cost of maintaining and repairing a car is approximately $4.97 per driven mile. Operative word is maintaining.

Many owners have been surprised with large repair bills because they have beguiled by the manufacturer’s maintenance free doctrine when common sense maintenance would have discovered fairly inexpensive repairs before they became failures. When a car’s mechanics are neglected, whether benignly, or deliberately, that car can become unreliable and a disappointment to its owner. With proper maintenance most modern cars can go 200,000 miles without a major failure. Stuff breaks and wears out, but by giving your car some TLC you increase your odds of not having your local tow truck driver become your new BFF.
Our shop is one of 55 ASA-AZ shops that are listed as “Green” by Arizona Department of  Environmental Quality. We control our waste stream; we re-claim and re-cycle antifreeze, waste oil, refrigerant, plastics, paper, and most metals. Our floors are not washed into the sewer system, and we control our drain water quality through the use of hydro-carbon socks.

We have installed low energy fluorescent lighting and use low energy computer systems. Our outdoor lighting, for night time security, is low density and meets dark sky recommendations. Additionally, we purchase products in bulk (eliminating plastic bottles) wherever practical. Our chemicals are chlorine free. Being green is not always cheap, or easy- but it is right and good for Sedona.


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