If you own a car, you have probably been in need of a repair at some point. Finding the right repair shop or mechanic can be a nightmare. They are notoriously dishonest and often overcharge you for their work. Luckily, the following article has some great tips with regards to finding a great auto repair shop.
Save fuel by driving as if you have a glass of water sitting on your dashboard. This practice helps you avoid jack rabbit starts and quick stops. Each time you accelerate quickly, the engine of your car uses more fuel than it would if you were to accelerate at a gradual increase in speed.
Make sure you often check the radiator. Let the car run a couple minutes, shut your engine and open up your hood. Never open the radiator cap if the engine is running. Check the radiator fluids using a dipstick and remember to always mix the coolant with water before putting it in the radiator.
When trying to get an estimate for the cost of your auto repairs, ask the technician how they calculate the cost. There are some shops that charge your a flat rate for parts and labors, but others will try and charge you a fee for each hour they spend fixing your car.
If you are having work done on your car, make sure you get a written estimate beforehand. The estimate should include what is being repaired, the parts that will be needed and the anticipated cost for labor. It should also say that they will call for your approval before doing any additional work which exceeds the amount or time specified.
Your car owners manual is actually a valuable guide to the workings of your car. That means that you should not trash it as soon as you leave the dealer. It can tell you everything from what that light on your dash means, to how to perform basic maintenance on your particular model.
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.
Take multiple pictures of your car before taking it to a new shop. Though most shops won’t strip a car, others do it to make more money. Be safe rather than sorry.
Take a second to read the manual and learn about the different components within your vehicle before visiting a mechanic. Parts can be new, rebuilt or reconditioned, or salvaged. New parts are the ones that you want to have installed on your vehicles. Refurbished or reconditioned parts ate those that have been restored to working condition. “Salvage” parts have been used without being improved or repaired.
Consider investing in a service contract. Getting a service contract is similar to insuring your vehicle; you will pay a monthly fee to keep your contract valid and the company that issues the contract will cover needed repairs. Choose your contract carefully and find a contract that covers things you will actually need.
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 read your owner’s manual before you begin to repair your vehicle. There may be information in your manual that you need to know in order to keep from making a huge mistake. To be sure that you do not waste time and money be sure to look through your manual before you even start.
Bleed brakes after you’ve worked on them and before test driving them. Take the time to pump brake fluid too. Examine closely to see if any leaking has occurred. You don’t want to run low on your brake fluid. Now you can take your car out for a test drive on roads with light traffic. Start slowly to make sure that the repair is done well before you start to drive faster.
Before you have a mechanic work on your car, get a good estimate of what your bill will be. Understand how much the labor costs will be. This will avoid most surprises. If the repairs will cost significantly more than the estimate, have the mechanic call first to authorize the additional costs.
When your mechanic hems and haws over a written estimate, don’t use him. You should get a written estimate so that you have proof of what he promised to do.
Ask your mechanic a lot of questions. You need a thorough understanding of the repair, not just a price quote. Ask your mechanic how long the repair will take. What’s being worked on? How much do parts cost? Ask them anything and everything that you can think of. This will help the mechanic see that you are a concerned customer, and most mechanics are happy to educate you about your car.
Sometimes parts of your car will need to be replaced. In the event of this, tell your repair shop to use OEM parts rather than generic parts. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. The OEM parts will give your car the best performance possible, while the cheaper generic parts may leave your car running less efficiently and increase the risk of problems in the future.
Be sure to keep and read your vehicle’s owner manual. This is a very important source of information, and you should become very familiar with it. Knowing what is in your owner’s manual can help you perform minor repairs on your own. Additionally, it can help you avoid going to the auto repair shop unnecessarily by clarifying the way in which equipment on your car is supposed to work. It also provides important codes such as your VIN number and color codes for body paint, upholstery, carpeting and so on.
Having read the article above, you should now have a better understanding of how to find a reputable repair shop. It can be a tough task to do, particularly with so many shady ones around. But if you just remember what you have learned here, your car will be in tip-top shape in not time.