While we all love free stuff, remember the famous saying that “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. This applies to every area of life including auto care.
When free service is offered it is always wise to look at the motivation behind it. Consider that all businesses have overhead and the auto repair business is a very costly business to operate due to high tech equipment and skilled technicians. So why would a shop offer to look at your check engine lamp for free? Why would a shop offer free battery tests?
Why would a shop offer a $12.95 oil change when even a $50.00 oil change is unprofitable?
While this free stuff (or very low priced stuff) seems great, be aware that it’s done as a reason to lure you in the door and sell you more stuff. Since the first work was free, how are they going to recover that time and expense? Sometimes by over-charging for the further repairs. Sometimes inferior quality parts will be used.
Is this the way you want to start your relationship with a business that you will need to use on a regular basis? When you own a car you will require routine service and experience has shown that using the same company to provide that service, (assuming they are ethical) saves you a lot of money.
A professional, successful auto service shop has a business model just like a Doctor or Dentist. These professionals always do thorough tests (diagnosis and inspection) before treatments (repairs). They charge for this.
It takes a professional time to do their inspection and to be certain that their analysis is correct. When an auto service shop starts off by being up front with their charges for diagnosis and service you can usually count on them in the long run to treat you honestly in every area.