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KB - coolant flush is definitely a good idea. I'd get the trans serviced as well. Most cars built in the last decade use a synthetic based fluid. It's good to change it between 50-60K and then 30K thereafter. You don't need a flush if you service the transmission like this. To break it down, you're only really changing out 30% or so of the fluid each time, which is why after the original 60K is put on the car, fluid changes should be done every two years, or 30K to keep the fluid relatively fresh, as heat is the enemy here.

As for brakes, you can shop around online by all means! If you hear grinding the rotors might very well be shot. If that's the case, I'd take it back to the shop that did the work previously so if they put new pads on warped rotors, tell them to fix it as it was their fault. You can check for yourself by looking for irregular brake pad wear. If you had the rear brakes checked you might want to have a look at them as well. Rear discs aren't generally vented as they only supply 35% of the braking force, and aren't prone to overheat like the front brakes. High heat for prolonged time = warped rotors in most cases.

Verify your gas cap seal. Start the car with the cap on and if you hear an air noise, get a new cap and that should solve the problem. It could also be telling you that there's another small evaporation problem within the fuel system. Another common one, mostly on older vehicles is a bad, or broken vapor line to the charcoal filter.

A service for me is:

- oil change
- fluid checks, power steering brake and transmission, coolant (which you'll get flushed)
- tire pressure and tread wear check, rotate if necessary
- check under-body components and suspension for wear/tear (some call this part of a 20 or 40 point inspection for piece of mind)
 

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Yes. Dealer fluids can be pricey. My Dodge dealer wants close to $20 quart (Canadian funds) for everything but engine oil, that's about $10 a quart. Hence why I've been using Amsoil products for the last half a decade - half the price with better protection and a warranty to match!

I do my own maintenance when I can, which saves on labour. Don't forget, a trans service alone takes about 45min to do properly if not closer to an hour. That's $100 in labour, right there.
 

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Yes, most transmission fluids used today are all synthetic based which is why they are more expensive. However, aftermarket synthetic oils which in some cases perform better, are also a lot less money!
 
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