Take The Stress Out Of Car Repairs
Some people cringe at the very idea of having automobile repairs. We have all heard horror stories about mechanics that made unauthorized repairs, or of people spending hundreds of dollars on a repair that did not correct the problem. This article will help guide you through the confusion.
If you do not know a lot about your automobile, make an effort to learn the basics. Check the user manual and mark the areas that tell you how and how often to perform basic maintenance. Do some research online.
Here are a few things you should educate yourself on:
Recalls by the manufacturer of the automobile
Problems that a lot of car owners are having with that model.
What issues can be handled by a certified mechanic and which repairs should go through the dealership?
The life of any warranties on specifics of the automobile
Actions performed by you or your mechanic that can void your warranties
Qualified mechanics in your area
Don’t discount the experienced mechanic that does repairs from his auto garage. Mechanics who work for large chains often must buy their own tools. If they have the tools, a place to work and they are certified, you can sometimes save a lot of money on your repairs.
Their standing with the community and the Better Business Bureau
Is their pricing in line with other mechanics in the area?
Do they stand behind their work?
How long have they been in business?
Are they a full-service center?
Do they do body repair?
Do they do automobile repair?
Do they provide towing?
Check out well known and reputable sites like Mass Towing Service and get the feel of how their business is run. If you contact a mechanic and he does not want to answer your questions or if he cannot give you direct answers to your questions, walk away.
Safeguards and precautions you should always use
An automobile is a detailed and specifically built machine. There are basic requirements when you operate any machine. In America, we have become so accustomed to having an automobile at our convenience, that we do not take the precautions we are instructed to take from the manufacturer. These safeguards are suggested for a reason. They provide the automobile with the basics required for the machine parts to function properly. Each part of the car has a job to do. If you neglect one part, it will affect others. Soon you have a problem that the mechanic will have to dig deep to fix. While you should steer away from the mechanic that suggests unnecessary (and illogical) repairs, the mechanic may not know of an issue until he repairs the issue that affects it. This is not unusual in the mechanic industry. This is why it is important to know the mechanic you are working with and to check them out thoroughly.
Routinely have the oil changed and the fluids checked in your vehicle. The engine of the car needs clean motor oil to operate correctly. Without adequate water, the car can overheat, resulting in significant expenses. In the winter months, antifreeze is a must, not a suggestion. Transmission fluid is important. Even keeping water in the windshield sprayer can prevent an accident on a rainy evening if you find your car covered in mud and you cannot see to drive.
Keep up with the condition of your tires. Worn tires cause a lot of accidents in the USA. Learn how to check the tread on your tires. Make sure you have them rotated according to industry standards.
Always have a spare tire and jack in your vehicle. Many people rely on the “donut” tire that comes with their car for emergencies. This will work, but it is a temporary fix. The small tire is only intended to allow you to drive 50-70 miles. It is intended to assist you in getting off the road. Therefore, if you have a flat tire or a blowout and you depend on the donut to save you, you will have to immediately stop and have your original tire repaired or replaced in order to safely continue on your way. Until you do, you are driving on a temporary tire with no replacement. This is dangerous for you and anyone else in the vehicle.
Always have a battery charger and jumper cables in your car. A drained battery can leave you in places you do not want to be. They are also good to have with you if a friend or family member needs help.
Do not overload your key chain with keys and gadgets. The weight of the key chain can damage the ignition switch. You may notice the ignition sticking. This is a sign that the weight is causing issues.
Change your windshield wiper blades often. It happens all the time. People do not think of their wiper blades until it rains, and when it rains they streak the windshield, making visibility difficult.
When you take your car into the shop
Most mechanics are honest, hard working, people. They would not even think of taking anything from your car. There is always the exception. If you must take your car to the shop, take everything of value (or of a personal nature, such as photographs) from your interior and trunk area. This ensures that nothing will be misplaced or damaged. If you leave your possession in your car, the mechanic probably will not replace the items.
Ask questions and keep asking until you understand the problem and how the mechanic expects to fix it. If he is replacing a part, ask for your old part so you are ensured it was actually replaced.
Take someone with you that knows something about car repairs.
Test drive the car to ensure it has been fixed. Address any strange sounds or odd behavior of the vehicle after the repair.
Once the repair is done, keep a copy of the receipt in the glove compartment of the car along with the maintenance receipts or ledger.