There a lot of free automotive services offered by some parts stores. You can always call to the parts store to ask them if they have any free services and what they are. Not all parts stores offer the free services.
I use these services myself as it helps me to help diagnose any problem I may be having with my car. I can then share that information with the mechanic.
* Engine lights
The engine light or service light comes on when there is a need for maintenance or you need to fix a problem. You should never ignore the light because the problem can trigger bigger issues.
The store has an OBD II reader for cars 1996 and newer. They can hook it up to your vehicle and give you any codes that your car may show up. You can also purchase one for yourself and there’s a book in there to show you how to use it.
If you’re vehicle seems to have dimming headlights, less power, flickering dash lights or other issues… bring it to an auto parts store near you and ask to have the battery\alternator checked right away.
It could be the battery is going bad, the drive belt (serpentine belt) is shot, or the alternator is draining the battery. The battery turns your car over to start it and the alternator charges the battery when its running.
Sometimes the alternator goes bad and completely drains the battery, so sometimes you have to replace both parts.
* Wiper Blade Installation
You need new wiper blades because they are going bad and the window is streaking so bad you can’t see out of them. You go to the parts store because you have no idea of the size that is on the vehicle(s) and they need replacing. (Never wait until its raining, sleeting or snowing because the store can run out of your size very quickly.)
Not all auto parts stores will offer free wiper installation (only if you purchase them there) and if there are enough employees available to help you with that.
* Battery Charging
There are limits to this service…
You cannot charge a Marine battery or a Lawn Mower battery. The battery must be out of the vehicle before you can use this service. The parts store people can put the battery on a charger and let you know when it’s done, so you can pick it up or have to replace it.
They cannot pull your vehicle apart to charge or replace the battery… if you need it done (some are located under a rear seat or under the windshield washer fluid bottle).
* Starter Test
This is something that is done once the starter has been removed from the vehicle (and not in the parking lot), they will put it on a machine and it will check to see if the bendix is working properly. (You turn the key and the starter acts as a button to turn the car on).
If it isn’t working right they can offer you a starter they have if they have one in stock. They will take the old one as a core charge. (Cores are sent out and rebuilt to be purchased again.)
* Headlight Replacements
If you notice that you have a light out or that you have a light on the dash telling you that a lamp is out, then you need to go to the parts store.
You can also open your owner’s manual and find the section on bulbs, lamps or maintenance and find the bulb that is out and it will have a number for it. You can go into the parts store to find the bulb and ask if they can install it for you.
It’s just a number and some letters. Just so you know, if it’s a yellow lamp (amber) like a turn signal, it will have a number and the letter A (that stands for amber) next to it. You can always go to the store or ask someone who knows how to remove the bulb and bring it into the store. The counter person can match the bulb to the package of the lamp you need.