Tips For A Smoother Ride And Longer Life For Your Car
Most American families own an automobile. In fact, in 2016, over 90% of Americans owned a vehicle and many own more than one. If you are among that 90% of car owners, you are at some point going to need a mechanic.
Even if you drive a new car, it will require maintenance and you could experience a mechanical failure. Cars today are not like the cars of yesterday. Today’s vehicles are highly crafted with computer components and technology that will rival any machine on the planet. While it is rare for parts to go out on a new vehicle, there are things that can affect the operation of a sensitive part like a sensor. These issues can only be handled by a highly-trained and qualified mechanic.
Before you shop for a mechanic
You must understand how a mechanic begins his job. The very first thing he must determine is where the problem is. A vehicle as with any machine depends upon the operation of all of the parts doing their job to perform. When one part is not operating properly, it makes the part working from it, not operate correctly and that affects the next area of the engine and so on. The sound you hear or the strange operation of the car, may not be the problem, it may be a result of the problem. So the mechanic has to work backward from the problem to find the real cause of the issue.
It is important to keep accurate maintenance information on your car in your glove compartment in a neat and legible manner. Every Time a repair or routine maintenance job is done it should be filed. These records tell your mechanic where to begin. If you do not have these records, he has to diagnose the problem either by hand or with the use of a diagnostic computer or both. This is a costly job that can often be avoided with proper documentation.
Jobs you can do yourself to save money
People have grown to depend on mechanics and another specialist so much that they do not know how to do very basic and simple things. It is worth your time to learn these basics. You can keep your car in better condition, take care of yourself when you are alone and have a problem, and save the money you would have sent. You can often learn basics at your local community college or by looking for classes being offered in the area.
The experts at Mass Towing Service tell us that many of the cars that end up being towed or seriously damaged are because someone did not take care of the basics of the automobile and did not know how to watch for problems. Car owners did not know what the lights on the dash meant and put off having serious issues checked until the car failed.
Learn to change your own flat tire
Always have a good spare tire and a jack in your car. The donut that comes with your car is not a spare tire. It is an emergency tire designed to get you to the nearest repair shop. While it is good to have, any area mechanic will tell you not to rely on that alone. If you are driving very far or taking a road trip, a donut is just a “band-aid”.
Learn the amount of air (pounds of air) your tires require and keep them filled adequately.
Learn how to check your car’s tire tread and know when to replace a worn tire
Checking your car’s fluid levels
You need to be able to check your oil, water, coolant, and windshield washer liquid. These are easy to check and easy to refill and will add years to your vehicle.
Your mechanic can check your transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid.
You are able to change your headlights, tail lights, and signal lights on your own.
Looking for a mechanic
You have options. You can go to a major automobile repair shop near you, you can go to an independently owned car shop, or you can work with a mechanic that works from his own shop. All of these options have their pros and cons.
A large name shop is going to have all the modern tools and sometimes will offer special prices based on the massive amounts of inventory they stock. They also stand behind their work most of the time to secure their name. However, you do not form a relationship with these companies. The mechanics are paid by the job and they want to get you in and out as soon as possible so they can make their money.
Independent shops usually have the right equipment to work on any car. They want your business long term. When we find a good mechanic we stay with them, our kids stay with them and we share their information. He wants that. He will put in more time to get to know you and learn how you treat your car. He will take great care with your car. He will learn your car and will often be able to tell you when a problem is coming up.
Private mechanics are usually mechanics that work for larger companies or are retired from larger companies who work on cars as needed from their garage. They have spent years accumulating tools and they are skilled. This will save you money in most cases. They are going to work on a problem and fix that problem. That is the extent of their relationship with you, If you need a battery replaced, a tune-up, brakes replaced, starter, oxygen sensor or something common, they will replace it and you are on your way. They are not concerned with what is going out on your car nor do they want to up-sell you. They will make the same money if you buy a $100 part as they will if you buy a $300 part.
As long as you feel comfortable with your mechanic and he is fair and honest with you, go for it. If he refuses to answer a question with a clear answer or if he doesn’t look you in the eye or listen to you when you talk, you might want to move on.