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Knowledge Base

Smart Car Servicing

Let’s talk a bit about car servicing, particularly with Smart cars in mind:
Q. Is car servicing still important nowadays?
A. In our opinion, yes it still is, and particularly so on Smart cars because they are city cars which have small and eager, hard working engines.
We think that regular servicing is the one main course of action which makes the real difference to not only prolonging the life of your Smart car, but also to ensure that your Smart car operates as economically as possible. This is why we offer a cost effective intermediate oil change at a price which the owner will not be able to match even if he or she were to do the job themselves.
Q. Are there any other benefits to servicing?
A. Yes. It’s a simple fact of life that all mechanical items wear out – be it your domestic boiler, the lawn mower or of course your Smart car. With simple preventative maintenance you can reduce the wear that takes place, maintain optimum fuel economy, maintain the safe operation of the braking system, increase the resale value by providing a proper recorded service history and cut down on the cost of putting your car through its annual MOT. All of these savings can more than recoup the cost of having your Smart car well maintained.
Q. Why don’t I just use my local garage?
A. Smart cars are not constructed like ordinary cars – (they are much better than ordinary cars, in our opinion) and they are different to ordinary cars. Smart car owners normally have two options for which type of garage to use to maintain – the network of Mercedes-Benz dealerships, which are all fully equipped to maintain Smart cars – but at high costs – or a local independent garage.
This is where problems can arise; most local garages will not see Smart cars on a regular enough basis to enable them to learn how Smart cars are put together, and are often too busy to take the time to learn. Many garages operate a bonus scheme for their mechanics, so when the mechanic is confronted with a Smart car, impatience and lack of knowledge can lead to important clips and fasteners being broken, and indeed sometimes the plastic body panels themselves have been damaged. Sadly we can normally always tell when non Smart-knowledgeable people have worked on a car before us, when we find these missing or damaged clips and fasteners or wrong connectors and leads fitted, etc. If for no other reason, this is why we would urge the Smart owner to let us work on their cars, because we know these cars, we know how they’re put together and we strive to ensure they remain built as intended. We have put a lot of time and effort into identifying all the different types of clips and fasteners that go into these cars – and not all of these fasteners appear on the Mercedes Electronic Parts catalogues either, so we offer our thanks to the helpful people at the Mercedes-Benz dealership who supply us for their help to us in this regard.
Q. Which parts do Smart-TECNIC supply and fit?
A. Almost all parts fitted are genuine Mercedes-Benz/Smart supplied, and Unipart is our supplier for other parts or parts to the other makes of cars that we also maintain. There are some engine parts which Mercedes-Benz do not sell separately (such as pistons) and in these cases we source components from the manufacturers agents who supply Mercedes-Benz tthemselves – Kolbenschmidt, in the case of pistons, for instance.
All items are genuine and branded, spark plugs are either NGK or Bosch and oil is supplied by Fuchs or Mobil. Only the highest quality grades of oil to the latest manufacturer specifications is used, currently to MB229.3 or MB229.5 ACEA A3/B3 Fully Synthetic in the case of Smart cars.
High quality oil is vital to Smart cars, but we believe we can change your oil for you for less than you’re likely to buy the oil for at Halfords. And whilst we’re changing your oil we will cast an eye over the car as well and have a chat with you about how your car is running. In our opinion it simply isn’t worth letting anyone else change your oil and we can probably do it cheaper than you can yourself too.

Dirty engine oil and oil burning can cause damage.

Q. My car only does a low annual mileage. Why should I stick to manufacturers service intervals?

A. Short journeys are hard on a car. A car that does a low annual mileage will be driven most times when the engine is still cold and has not reached optimum operating temperature and then typically just as the engine is reaching it’s ideal temperature it will be switched off again. Compared to the car belonging to a typical sales rep which spends most of its life on a motorway, a low-mileage car will be braking more often, accelerating more often, changing gear more often, parking and possibly bumping kerbs more often, traveling over speed-ramps more often, and generally spending more time in difficult urban situations far more often. Rather than needing less servicing, a low mileage car is often in greater need of servicing.
This type of usage, which Smart cars are ideally made for, is also hard on engine oil, and so it is very important that not only is the oil in your Smart car’s engine not be too old, it must also be of the correct specification.

I am still sure I can save money by cutting back on servicing, and in today’s economic climate money is tight…

Effects of lack of servicing

We can give a recent example of how an owner did not save money by skimping on servicing: A Smart car came to us with gear change problems, and investigation revealed that the clutch release arm had failed. On every service we always adjust the clutch mechanism, not only mechanically but electronically as well. The job takes minutes to do but the correct MB-Star diagnostic equipment is needed, which we have here at Smart-TECNIC.
The car in question had missed out on a number of services, and so because the clutch had never been adjusted it meant that increased wear was taking place between the clutch actuator rod and the clutch release arm. This increased wear is what caused the clutch release arm to fail, (see the pictures in our gallery). It is a big job to change this release arm, and the cost amounted to nigh on two major services.
This meant that this particular customer has had to pay the money for two major services – but still hasn’t had his car serviced. Had the customer had either one major or two minor services, the clutch would have been adjusted each time and this failure would not have taken place. The car in question was a busy, working Smart car used for delivering fast-food, so not only did the customer have the cost of the job to cover but the car missed out on a day’s work too. Definitely not cost effective, in our opinion.
It is true that money is tight nowadays, but money spent wisely is never wasted. Have your car serviced and let it work in the way it should whilst maintaining it’s value and your safety and well-being. It makes sound economic sense in the long run.