Light bulb repair may have saved engine

Posted8/12/2018 6:01 AM

By Doug McAllister

What do a light bulb and saving an engine have in common?


Well, the two can be related. Let me explain.

Typically when we service a car we always provide a complementary 30-point inspection. We provide this inspection for the motorist's benefit, as well as our own.

We certainly don't want our customer to continue driving and risk a problem because we failed to warn him or her about a condition (immediate or not) that required attention. If something is ready to fail on a vehicle and needs repair, we always recommend preventive maintenance and emphasize safety first to all our clients.

This makes sense and is a total win/win for the client and us.

Recently at one of our staff meetings, we had a discussion about when is it appropriate to skip the inspection. An example was brought up of someone coming in for air in her tires, or maybe to get a quick light bulb or windshield wiper change. The consensus was that everyone is in a hurry and the 30-point inspection takes about 30 minutes to complete.

I suggested that in those cases we should at least do a quick under-hood inspection and check fluid levels, especially the oil. The last thing I would want to do is send someone on their way with an improper oil level in their vehicle. With the longer oil change intervals with modern cars, it is not uncommon to see vehicles come in that are very low on oil.

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So, the next day a young lady came in to have a light bulb changed. It was a very quick and easy repair and our team member remembered our conversation from the night before. He took the time to do an under-hood fluid check and found the oil to be low. He was able to top it off for her and get her on her way.

Had we not checked under the hood, we would have sent our customer down the road with an engine low on oil.

When your service provider wants to do an inspection for you, it's not just to get an upsell … it is to make sure you and your car stay safe.

• Douglas Automotive is at 417 W. Main St., Barrington; 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake; and 416 Northwest Hwy., Fox River Grove. For information, visit Send questions to

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