Question on maintenance for my car so I don't get fleeced

So I took up parents offer to pay to have oil changed at the dealer and got inspection and car washed thrown in while I was at it. Now that I’m on my own to either to fix or pay the car however I chose, I just wanted an opinion.
So I’m wondering based on what the dealer wrote up, what is actually a necessity in getting fixed? And of the things worth fixing, what’s worth doing myself at the space by myself or with help and know anywhere that’s best to get the fluids and parts(shop/car yard)? Also anyone a brave volunteer that can instruct me howto or can at least point to a good mechanic?

I drive an Infiniti G37 sitting at a little over 65k miles and was told to replace transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and rear differential fluids immediately or before I hit 100k. Only thing I asked was what order should I have them done due to price. I don’t necessarily trust the prices they quote so just want to get the perspective of what it takes. Just trying to do this since my brother now drives the car regularly to work and I plan to make a big move Virginia and wanted to know what to service before I go.

My husband (diesel mechanic) is of a mind to leave tranny and related fluids alone unless strictly necessary because the system is having problems. The flushing dislodges crud that can be relocated and make much more expensive repairs necessary. 120k miles on the truck and still going strong so must be something to it?

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I am not familiar with your particular kind of car. I drive a general economy style car and I believe the general consensus on what I have is that you dont change transmission fluid unless your were trying to tow or pull something. And even then there is debate on flush versus just drain for the same reasons mrsmoose stated. I also think the power steering fluid has the same general recommendation to leave it alone unless there is a problem. So I think unless your car is just extra finicky or something they are trying to fleece you, but I would ask someone else more mechanically inclined besides me first.

Generally Allen or some other hang around automotive and like to answer questions.

Is it having problems shifting…if not I wouldn’t change it…just keep an eye on the level

My understanding is to change the transmission fluid and filter at the manufacturer recommended intervals. Getting rid of metallic particles is a good thing.

Never do a flush on an older vehicle as the pressure has a tendency to blow out seals.

Regarding the filters, replace them yourself, it’s quick and there’s probably a dozen YouTube tutorials on it.

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Flushes are one of those up sales that all the shops are pushing for, because they are easy to do and they make a large margin on the work. Here is an article explaining flushing and the systems that gain from it as well as the systems that don’t.

Looking over your FAIL list, it does look like a bunch of up sale BS is in there. What I would ask as a non-mechanic is for them to show you the issue apposed to the Fear Report which makes it seems like the wheels might fall off as you have “FAILED” all categories listed.

Air filters can be called dirty, just because they are lightly discolored. Put your eyes on the part and ask yourself how dirty is this. If it looks like the inside of an office computer covered in a pretty bad layer of grunge, go a head and replace it yourself. Most air filters are easy enough to get to and replace yourself. As for fluids, if your not a mechanic want to be like myself, get them done at a shop. They are a mess to deal with often and it sucks crawling on the floor under your car. But, often doable by yourself as well.


Good advice above. And one additional thought: The Infiniti is not a “specialty” brand. No need for the dealer to do any of that work if it’s on your dime. Find a reputable small shop in your area (check online reviews, etc.) who will do those jobs for a fraction of the cost… and will probably give you the same general recommendations as above (air filter is a DIY job, monitor and/or change the transmission/power steering/differential fluids/oils but avoid “flushing.”)


thanks will prob end up jsut replacing filters and pealing tints on mine if fluids arent huge concern

I suspected as much, just going to take look around then and try do filters myself. thanks

I drive a G37XS with 7 speed automatic as my daily. Routine oil changes with full synthetic, the usual bit.

Of course I’m just another opinion, take it for what it’s worth.

If you’ve been having problems with rough shifts, check the transmission fluid level. If that is ok, then I would consider a fluid change but not flush. I don’t know if you’re interested in doing this yourself, but the automatic transmissions have a drain plug that you can drain and then refill. That’s only if you feel comfortable doing that.

My thoughts are, change the filters yourself, they’re relatively easy and don’t require any special tools.

Think about a fluid change around 100k miles.

Rear diff, I might pay for just so I dont have to deal with the stench :roll_eyes:


I agree with most of the advice above…

I would also point out that if you take Automotive 101, and spend a little time in Automotive; you will pay for your Makerspace membership for a year in what you ‘save’ at the dealer. Just on this oil change, you would have likely saved about $45.

You will also see ‘first-hand’ what the condition of your car and/or fluids.

“Recommend replacing power steering fluid per dealer recommended time/ mileage”… this tells me that they recommend this to everyone, even if it where done last month. They aren’t even claiming they checked it, they simply state because of the mileage on your car that you should do it.

One another note. Many of us are not great about keeping receipts and a service log, so when I replace air filters, oil filters, etc. I write the date and mileage on the new filter so that I have a reference as to when they should be replaced. I never ‘trust’ the service writers at a dealership; but the only thing they are correct about is that a well-maintained car is far more likely to be a reliable car.

Ignoring ‘wear-related’ service items can cause small issues to become large. Choosing to not change your oil is a recipe which will shorten your engine life.

Once you get your lift certification, it is much easier to put your car in the air and check for leaks, brake pads, ball joints, tie rod ends, and other ‘common’ issues with 100,000+ mile cars.

We have a number of classes coming up in Automotive, so be on the lookout…


The transmission fluid and power steering fluid are a pain in the ■■■. I would pay someone to do those around 100K miles. Everything else is not difficult to do yourself and it would be a lot cheaper. Like $20 for an air filter instead of $200. Nothing they listed is critical (they won’t leave you stranded) but it’s all good upkeep if you plan to keep the car for many years. I’d just do them myself instead of pay someone through the nose.

$79.95 for a air filter??? What, how dumb do they think the average person is???

After being married to a service advisor the I have no doubt the depths of stupid people can go to. The guy who tried to make his own air filter from HVAC panels comes to mind :woman_facepalming: He was dealership in the past. Labor rate is labor rate mo matter how inane the job. Tail lights are another one. I wanna say Subaru but one of his side business clients required he access the bulbs by taking off the whole wheel

What kind of Subaru was this?

What year is this?
You want to check the owners manual for the recommended service interval.

Differential fluid, you can DIY.

ATF you want to find out if your G37 has a CVT or a conventional auto transmission. If it’s a CVT, you will want to consider having this done. There’s no real transmission filter any more on many of the Nissan auto trannies.

For that kind of money for the air filters you can think about going with K&N filters:
Some people don’t like them, but I’ve been on them since the early 90s.

Vehicle HVAC, depends on which side of the coin you want to be. Generally speaking, think of them as like your refrigerator, and recall when was the last time you had to have freon added or refrigerant changed on your ref.

Replace your cabin filter more often when you regularly track in dust or drive with windows open in dusty environments. You can DIY this, as it’s usually a 5 mins or less task.

Fuel injectors, if you always get your gas at stations that aren’t iffy, getting good fuel economy and power, they hardly go bad.

What is a ZAK Induction System Service?

What’s the connection between the air filter being dirty & fuel injection system needing to be cleaned?

The list sounds like spiff in action.

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A white SUV looking one from one of his old regulars…I just bring the tea/lemonade, make the mistake of asking why he’s got the wheel off for a headlight, and agree that yes dear, we will never buy a Subaru.

Ah, I read tail light. A number of new cars access the head light bulbs by removing the fender liner in the front wheel well.

You buy HVAC cabin air filters from Amazon. They cost around 20 bucks. That’s a non-essential right there.

“Induction system cleaning” is a bunch of BS. Buy yourself a engine intake air filter, again from Amazon, and replace it yourself. The longest part of the process will be the YouTube video you watch to learn how to get the gottverdamt air filter housing open…

“Fuel Injector Cleaning” is fuel additive potion they sell you because you can’t tell if it actually did anything. EDIT: What it’s actually made of is a special oil they refine from a very special kind of snake found only in Madagascar. And if you believe that, then I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you…

Speaking from the pulpit: “Leave your power steering and rear diff the hell alone.” The only reason my diff leaks now is because some asshat opened it up at one of these lube shacks for a “complementary inspection” like yours. You ever seen differential lube? It’s thick stuff and doesn’t wear out. You won’t own that car long enough to worry about wear on the diff. Power steering is a hydraulic system. Hydraulic oil isn’t for cleaning or lubricating, it’s for pushing. The only reason to jack with it is if it is leaking (just top it up and find the leak) or looks creamy (water got in).

Your tranny is a cloudy answer: Nowadays manufacturers make a lot of sealed transmissions that really aren’t designed to require service regularly. They fill it at the factory and assume it will outlast the rest of the car. I don’t know whether yours is sealed or not. If it is, again, don’t jack with it. The mechanic likes to sell this because a fluid “flush/exchange/blessing/etc…” is a low-risk procedure that allows them to bill a few hours. Even if they jack something up, you won’t find it until you’ve gone many miles down the road and they will say it wasn’t their fault. Is this procedure useful? No. Is it going to hurt anything: Only your wallet.

Caveat: if it’s not a sealed transmission, then I would reverse, and tell you it probably wouldn’t hurt to change it out at 100k miles. My reasoning here is my own opinion and likely to have me hung from the tallest tree in the county: Don’t change it because of dirty oil or any of that stuff. Automatic transmissions are big meshing gears, not honed precision surfaces ground to 0.0000001” tolerance. Wear on those gears is a fact of life. You check the ATF fluid to make sure A) It’s full of fluid (auto transmission is a hydraulic system. Works best with adequate fluid levels.) B) because in an unsealed transmission the fluid could theoretically absorb water from contact with ambient air. Get enough of that and the lube properties will break down, at which point wear will become a significant factor.

Hopefully somebody else here has a personal story about point B. I’ve always heard its possible, but I don’t know anyone whose ever dealt with water in the ATF. May be a bunch of BS. Either way, if it’s an unsealed transmission, you can worry about that at 100k miles. Or 125k.

Anyways this is all my personal opinion. Somebody will disagree here and that’s OK too.


From first hand experience, if it’s cvt get it serviced. A new cvt installed from Nissan is about $5500. I found this out the hard way.