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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to a Monroe shop a few times and the service was terrible, I need a synthetic oil change, alignment and new spark plugs maybe a new battery Any thoughts on possible garages? How long, expected cost for NGK or Denson iridium spark plugs installed? I am north of Boston and also in New Hampshire lakes region half the time. ty
 

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2009 451 Rally Red, Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5W-40, Wix XP 51356, 185/55R15 tires, 44 psl
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Lets take things one a a time
a synthetic oil change
Three ways to do this, first, mechanic provides oil and filter, second, you provide oil and filter, mechanic changes it for you, third, you do the change.
I change my own, but I have a 451, the newer 453's are not as easy, the filter is a cartridge.
Even if you have a mechanic do it, I would bring the oil and filter...
Oil should meet Mercedes Benz 229.5 specification
Filter
I use a longer Wix 51356, XP version, on my 2009, look on Rock Auto for good prices

alignment
Are your tire cupping (wearing on the edges)? If so, add 4-5 PSI to your tires...

and new spark plugs
Rock Auto again, 453's can be hard to find a plug. I would keep a spare set around...

maybe a new battery
Battery is under the passenger footwell. Not hard, but very heavy. Requires some maneuvering to get it in.
Make sure you attach the vent hose, and plug up the hole on the other side of the battery before you turn in the old battery...
 

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Lets take things one a a time
a synthetic oil change
Three ways to do this, first, mechanic provides oil and filter, second, you provide oil and filter, mechanic changes it for you, third, you do the change.
I change my own, but I have a 451, the newer 453's are not as easy, the filter is a cartridge.
Even if you have a mechanic do it, I would bring the oil and filter...
Oil should meet Mercedes Benz 229.5 specification
Filter
I use a longer Wix 51356, XP version, on my 2009, look on Rock Auto for good prices

alignment
Are your tire cupping (wearing on the edges)? If so, add 4-5 PSI to your tires...

and new spark plugs
Rock Auto again, 453's can be hard to find a plug. I would keep a spare set around...

maybe a new battery
Battery is under the passenger footwell. Not hard, but very heavy. Requires some maneuvering to get it in.
Make sure you attach the vent hose, and plug up the hole on the other side of the battery before you turn in the old battery...
Advance Auto has plugs for the 453. Usually not in stock but delivered to store by next day. No problem.
 

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Where are you in Boston? I take my car to SPG Automotive Repair on Canal Street in Salem for annual inspections. I have a number of oddball cars and do all my own work so I'm very skeptical of shops but these guys have won me over with a very organized workspace. It's not expensive or fancy, just very straightforward and orderly, which is difficult to find.

Howdy, smark, from Paul over at the Fiat forum. Yep, I have several Fiats and SAABs too so I'm a home for unloved cars. Sometimes they find me instead of me finding them!
 

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Paulbob, I have the same issue like you. Why too many vehicles, a couple Honda’s, a Kia Soul, Jeep Renegade, Fiat, and a smart car. We just down sized. built a beautiful handy cap assessable home. Went from 3 car garage, to a extra deep 2 car. Some cars here need to go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Paulbob, I have the same issue like you. Why too many vehicles, a couple Honda’s, a Kia Soul, Jeep Renegade, Fiat, and a smart car. We just down sized. built a beautiful handy cap assessable home. Went from 3 car garage, to a extra deep 2 car. Some cars here need to go!
How do you like the Fiat? I love the look/style but read they have a poor reliability rating If I could do my own car repair I would of bought a fiat.
 

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If there's one thing I've learned over the years heading into old age it's that those reliability ratings are meaningless. I have the service histories on my Fiats, all bought used, and other than rear wheel bearings and door handles they're great cars. The door handles have a pin that corrodes from road salt. I wouldn't say that they are more robust than the German (and French if you include my smart and my Renault 18) cars I've owned but they've certainly been better than the Japanese cars I've had. I dont have much experience with American brands so can't really compare.

How do you like the Fiat? I love the look/style but read they have a poor reliability rating If I could do my own car repair I would of bought a fiat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Advance Auto has plugs for the 453. Usually not in stock but delivered to store by next day. No problem.
Hi mattwithcats....I love cats. My Smart is covered with Kitty Decals. Thanks for all this I have 2009 Passion so a 451.

Oil: If I supply oil and filter what is a fair price for labor? I think it is 30 min job? Pep Boys quoted me $68 for full synth using mobile one , is that fair price?
Last year Monroe did it but they were awful, and very rude to me never checked other fluids and bristled when I asked them to do that. They said they used syth oil but I did not trust it was right.

Rockauto : Yes, I bought my engine filter and cabin filter from them. Autogeek is another supplier that was recommended.

Tires are new October Vredestestein Quadrac look ok, but the steering is not tight, I did not get the alignment in Oct with the new tires so thought I would to see if driving is better. Those mountain roads need great steering to hug the road.

Tireware house quoted $100 for alignment but uncomfortable with their work so perhaps try the Salem garage mentioned here.

Plugs I have 451 2009 passion. What does a garage charge is it more because hard to work on Smarts?

A local said he would charge ne $20 for labor to change plufs, I buy parts, but I dont know him. He works at the local Jiffy lube I read about denso iridium plug being suggested for Smarts

Battery I need to have it done cannot change this myself, Walmart had the best price about $125 Yes H5 vented type. I have read on fb posts where owners did not use vented battery!


Anything I might of forgot to do for my spring Smart check up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Where are you in Boston? I take my car to SPG Automotive Repair on Canal Street in Salem for annual inspections. I have a number of oddball cars and do all my own work so I'm very skeptical of shops but these guys have won me over with a very organized workspace. It's not expensive or fancy, just very straightforward and orderly, which is difficult to find.

Howdy, smark, from Paul over at the Fiat forum. Yep, I have several Fiats and SAABs too so I'm a home for unloved cars. Sometimes they find me instead of me finding them!
Thank you fir the Salem garage suggest. I am 30 min from Salem. I would be so relieved to find a trustworthy shop.
 

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Thank you fir the Salem garage suggest. I am 30 min from Salem. I would be so relieved to find a trustworthy shop.
30 minutes from Salem in Boston area traffic probably means you live in Swampscott, lol!

The spark plugs are some of the easiest I've ever done and there are only three of them so don't let anyone charge too much to do them. Same with the oil changes, very easy. Anything to do with coolant is a little bit more work on these than on a typical car. I use the original blue "G48" coolant used by Saab, and Mercedes and similar to the old blue VW and BMW coolant. It should be changed every 4 years and air trapped in the system can overheat and ruin the engine so might be something to have done at the Lynnfield service center or an independent shop, not a chain. I don't have any experience with the Boston metro service centers.

Oh, and New Hampshire rescue kitty purring at my feet as I type this in Wisconsin. Kitty does some long car rides!
 

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Nice thread. Find that Salem shop and see what they say and how you feel. Pepboys for everything is not be a bad choice because they could do it all it's just matter of pricing and if course work quality. I get my own oil and filter from pep boys then pay an Indie shop right next door 30 bucks (20 plus a 10 tip) to put it in. 10 min once on the lift and I am driving away. I got a wheel alignment at Firestone. For what realistically can be adjusted in the 451 the price is ridiculous, so I went all in and got the even more ridiculous life time service. With that service the sales rep said "you can bring it in everyday for a new wheel alignment if you want to." But before the service my steering wheel was slightly off center and car drifted to the right when you let the wheel go. After the service the steering wheel is centered and the car tracks straight. The rear tires which they could not or at least did not adjust was with in spec but slightly off. In hind sight I had a spare tire in the hatch area drivers side that may have accounted for that. Hmmm I wonder if they would align it with me sitting in it.... Yeah let's keep the ridiculous angle front and center...
Back to you... I like the Salem shop because a Smart car guy who does a lot of his own stuff feels good about them.. If they do alignments you have it all in one place same as Pepboys .
 

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I’m a bit surprised how often I hear of people taking their own parts into shops. People I’ve known over the years who work at shops generally won’t do this because they don’t get the profit margin on the parts sale and they are dealing with parts from an unknown source.

It’s probably difficult to find shops that will work on smarts and even in large metros I know of no smart service specialists. The car itself is simple mechanically but it’s in a configuration that is unfamiliar to to many mechanics. Combine this with its small size and it attracts a lot of hate.
 

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Once you find quote un quote "your" shop. You get the part or they force the part really don't matter to them as long as the part is confirmed to be correct and they will rightfully refuse to put crap on your car. As far as working on the car people are people and some will run with the myth of the hard to work on hard to find parts for Smart car. I only have a 451 and Know nothing of any other model. But I personally have found it easy to work on, with a lift just a breeze. The software I have not found a go to for MB star program code deciphering, fortunately I have had no coding issues requiring a MB exclusive reset. My 2014 451 at this point is just anothet used car. Plenty of new and used parts available more and more mechanics are getting use to working on them. Once they do something twice on them. Guess what .... they are experts at that thing lol.
 

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How do you like the Fiat? I love the look/style but read they have a poor reliability rating If I could do my own car repair I would of bought a fiat.
I’ve owned my 500 going on 10 years, next month. It was a early production 2011. It’s been really reliable. We also had a 2014 Fiat 500L that was junk. Traded that car off for a Kia Soul.

The Fiat 500 is a more refine vehicle, compared to my smart car. The performance, is better, handles great, very comfortable to drive. The 500 has more creature feature. The Abarth exhaust, is fantastic. Fiat service, is more reasonable then MB’s. I’ve had very little issues with my car. Actual both my smart car, and 500 been pretty reliable.
‘Both vehicles are considered city cars. The 500 goes beyond that.
 

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Abarth exhaust on a non-Abarth? I've never heard one set up like that. Interesting. Abarth exhaust deletes the mid-muffler, right? I assume the remaining muffler is different too.

It's luck of the draw. My '14 500L has to be one of the best cars I've owned from a repairs perspective And it's super useful too but not as much fun to drive as a smaller 500, of course. We'll see if it can match the old Jetta for fewest repairs. It helps that mine is a manual trans version. It seems like most of the complaints on the 500L are the same as the smart fortwo and any other dual dry clutch setup. Jerky shifting.

My only complaint with Fiat and pretty much every other car ever made is that the body panels aren't plastic. I like colder weather so I live where there's salt on the roads. I guess a stainless steel DeLorean or an aluminum Jaguar XJ would suit me too. Saturn was good that way too but I never liked the looks of them. Corvette body panels won't rust either but it's hard to get around in snow in one of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
66522

Where are you in Boston? I take my car to SPG Automotive Repair on Canal Street in Salem for annual inspections. I have a number of oddball cars and do all my own work so I'm very skeptical of shops but these guys have won me over with a very organized workspace. It's not expensive or fancy, just very straightforward and orderly, which is difficult to find.

Howdy, smark, from Paul over at the Fiat forum. Yep, I have several Fiats and SAABs too so I'm a home for unloved cars. Sometimes they find me instead of me finding them!
66523
 
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