When you need your car fixed, you usually need it done as soon as you can. That’s why it’s important for you to not only know what needs to be done, but how you will get it repaired. Whether you will do the repairs or plan to take it to a mechanic, here are some smart auto repair tips.
There are many how-to videos that you can turn to for auto repairs. Everything from a simple tire change to changing your fuel filter can be found in video form. These videos will take you through each step in making the repair and will save you the time and the cost of taking it to a mechanic.
Invest in a quality battery charger and always keep it in your car. This is a common cause of breakdowns, and carrying a charger helps other drivers as well as yourself. Before you drive again, figure out how to use it properly.
In addition to basic tire changing equipment, keep a plastic tote filled with DIY auto repair supplies in the trunk of your car in case of emergencies. Fill it with at least a quart each of motor oil, transmission fluid, steering fluid, and brake fluid and a gallon of water. Add a can of penetrating oil spray, a roll of duct tape, twine, bungee cords and basic tools so that you can manage minor repairs on the road.
If you take your car to a mechanic, make sure they have the proper licenses and credentials. Before making your appointment, check their reviews online and their standing with the Better Business Bureau. Don’t just look at the positive reviews, but see how the company responds to negative feedback. Every business has the occasional problem, and if they handle the matter quickly and courteously, they may be worth a second look.
Check your tire pressure regularly. Tires with a low pressure are a very dangerous liability. Check the pressure in your tires at least once a month or anytime you notice a tire seems to be losing air. Invest in new quality tires if you often have to adjust the pressure in your tires.
Avoid unexpected auto repair problems while driving by performing a basic safety check before you set out in your car. Start your engine, turn on your lights and your flashers and walk all the way around your car. Check your tires and make sure your lights and flashers are working properly. This simple check will ensure a safer ride and help you avoid the need for emergency repairs.
If your car needs body work, make sure you know what color paint you have on your vehicle. This information is important for the technician that works on your car. Also, your vehicle identification number is always something good to have on hand. In many cases, you will have to have it just to set up an appointment.
Stick with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) components. If your car needs parts, choose OEM parts over generic ones. For optimum performance, you should have the OEM parts that are up to the manufacturer’s standards. While generic parts are cheaper, they’re generally a lower quality than the original ones. This means that you may pay more later for replacements.
If you have a maintenance log, devote yourself to keeping it up-to-date. If it isn’t, your car may undergo repairs that are not necessary and do nothing to help you. Further, this log is an indication to those working on your car that you expect the best for your vehicle.
Never underestimate Walmart when it comes to having certain services done on your car. You can get an oil change there for quite a bit less than you will pay for one at an auto shop. They also sell tires that are priced much better than those at most tire shops.
When it comes to the brakes on your car,the last thing you want to do is to let it go. Pay attention immediately to any unusual noise or change in pressure when you apply the brakes. The sooner you deal with the issue, the less severe it will be, saving you money as well alleviating safety concerns.
Keep your car manual in your car. In fact, keep the manual and any other documentation your car may have, including details on past repairs, tune-ups and more. The more data points your auto repair shop has to look into an issue, the better chance that they’ll be able to give you a strong idea about what is going on with your car.
Take your owner’s manual with you when you go to the auto repair shop to get work done. If someone tells you that you need to get a service after a certain amount of miles, check and see if that matches what is in the manual. If it does not, let them know that you decline that particular service.
If you have a major issue that threatens safety in a new car, talk to the manufacturer. They may already have recalled the model, or may need reports like yours to do so in future. Manufacturers will often fix the car in these cases.
If you can video record an issue you are having with your car, do so. That video can prove invaluable to your auto repair shop as they try to understand the issue. It’s a much better solution than you trying to describe the problem verbally. The repair team can watch the video over and over to learn what they can.
Remember, you are owed an estimate before any work occurs on your car. If you did not receive an estimate and work did begin, do not feel obligated to move forward with any sort of payment. Move onto a more reputable auto shop as soon as possible if this occurs.
Do not pick your auto mechanic based only on price. A cheap mechanic with a poor track record of service is not a good value at all. If the work is shoddy, you wind up wasting your time going back to the mechanic to get the same problem fixed. A good quality mechanic that charges a bit more is worth the extra money.
Use the tips above when you next have a problem with your car. Don’t let an ignorance of the subject make the experience a miserable one. Take charge of your car repairs, understand the options, and come out on top by making the best deal possible.