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I have a 1999 Dodge Van with 155,000 miles. Do I keep going to the dealer to get maintenance? Dealers are very expensive to tun up my car with it's high mileage. Can I find someone else to do the maintenance for a little cheaper?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Dear Azalea, No you do not need to go to the dealer to have your Dodge Van repaired or maintained. But make sure you are comparing apples to apples if you have someone else give you an estimate for your tune-up. It is easy to keep the price down by not doing all that is needed, but on the other hand, it is easy to increase the price by adding work that is not needed. I recommend developing a relationship with a highly trained professional mechanic you can trust. Ask around and see if you know anyone that has rave reviews on a mechanic. Something like, "My whole family has used ____ shop for 8 years and they have never steered us wrong!" Good Luck, Amy Mattinat

Patty Streeter,  at Any ASE certified technician can perform the needed tune up however we recommend you go to an ASE Blue Seal shop or an authorized Dodge dealership. You can locate one near you here:  Call around and get quotes for your tune up and follow the suggestions below: Choosing a Repair Shop Checklist Here are some tips from the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) on finding a good repair establishment: Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one. Ask friends and associates for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations. Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location. Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays. Look for a courteous staff, with a service writer willing to answer all of your questions. Look for policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc. Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work. Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards. Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification by ASE. Reward good service with repeat business and customer loyalty.

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