Everyone has to deal with auto repairs at some time in their life. Car repairs can cost a significant amount of money. Whether you are doing the repairs yourself or hiring a mechanic, it is a good idea to know what you are doing. Use these tips to be better prepared when you have to fix your car.
Don’t neglect your regular maintenance. These scheduled visits are not there just to get more money from you. They are designed to make sure maintenance is done on specific components before you end up stranded on the side of the road. While you might be able to skip one or two and be okay, the damage will shorten the life of your car.
Ask your friends and family for advice on a trust worthy auto body shop. It can be very hard to find a shop that will not rip you off or produce poor quality work. Asking for advice can save you from a lot of wasted money and time trying to do it on your own.
Basic maintenance like oil changes are actually very easy to do yourself. You only need at ramp, a pan, and a few basic tools. Just be sure to check with your city or county government beforehand to find out where to take your waste oil. It is extremely damaging to the environment, and you could face steep fines for dumping it out.
Understand the repair costs prior to leaving your car with any shop. Labor costs especially can run at different levels from shop to shop, especially if a specialist is involved. You’ll want to know what you are getting into prior to learning about it the hard way days later.
Beware mechanics who charge you for repairs which are unnecessary. Good mechanics will tell you about worn down pieces without replacing them automatically. If you notice a mechanic has made unnecessary repairs to your vehicle, do not go to the same one next time.
If you think your headlines are not as bright as usual, inspect them for cleanliness. Greasy residue from a road can deposit on them sometimes and that dirt can reduce the light they’re putting out. A good quality glass cleaner will help to clean them right up.
Do not hover over the technician while they are trying to do work on your car. It is important that you spend time with them to explain what the problem is with your vehicle, but once you have done that, leave them alone so they can do their job without any interruptions.
If you’re performing your own repairs underneath a car and have it raised in the air, ensure that the lifting device you use is secure. Never lift a car that is not on level ground or on a firm surface. Always use jackstands in the proper position and never solely rely on a jack to keep a car raised off the ground.
If your car’s electrical system is behaving strangely, try cleaning the ground cables. Auto makers use the metal body of a vehicle to act as a “ground” for the electrical system. Over time the area where this cable connects to the frame can corrode, causing a stray electrical current that can wreak havoc on your system. This cable is usually connected on the firewall or fender, so simply disconnect it and use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean the contacts.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. It is your car, and you need to know why it is important to fix a specific item right away. If you are feeling intimated, or you are not receiving straight answers, get a second opinion before signing off on the work.
Ask your auto mechanic about their A.S.E. certification. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence has a test twice a year for it. To earn this certification, mechanics must pass a written test while also having about two years of work experience in auto mechanics and repair. This certification increases your chances of finding competent mechanics.
If you are planning a DIY auto repair, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete it. Start early in the day with all of the tools, parts and fluids that you will need close at hand. Remember that, no matter how well you plan, something unexpected will come up and consume your time. Avoid running out of daylight by getting an early start that will allow you to cope with the unexpected.
If you are paying to have new parts installed in your car, ask the mechanic if you can see them. There is no reason why he should refuse to let you see what you have paid for. If you have any indication that the items are not new, tell the mechanic that you will be getting the work done elsewhere.
Always get a second opinion before you have an expensive repair done. No one is perfect, so there is a chance that the shop is wrong about what is needed done. Additionally, you may be able to find someone to do the work for a far cheaper price than what your original shop quoted you.
If you have a major issue that threatens safety in a new car, talk to the manufacturer. There may have been a recall on the car already, or one may be needed. Oftentimes, the manufacturer will have your car fixed.
Discuss what type of guarantee an auto repair shop offers. Make sure you have a piece of paper that states this guarantee, and be clear about what it excludes. You may need to go somewhere more expensive in order to get the warranty that you want, particularly if you are going to be spending a large some of money either way.
One of the best ways to save money is by being informed about car maintenance and repairs. Some mechanics take advantage of those with little car knowledge. Use the advice you learned here to either do the repairs yourself or be better armed against shady mechanics. You can save thousands over a lifetime.