It is no secret that Americans love their cars. The American love affair with their cars began almost a century ago and shows no signs of cooling off. The question most car owners have on their minds is, “how I avoid needing expensive vehicle repairs?” There are ways to avoid costly visits with your friendly area auto mechanic. Here are some tips to keep your car on the road and out of the shop.
- Know as much as you can about your vehicle. This means your owner’s manual should be well used and worn out. The better you know your car, the sooner you can detect small problems that would lead to costly vehicle repairs. The more you know your car’s manual, the more you will know how to look for when driving your car. A lot of people just put the manual in the glove compartment and then forget about it but you do that at your own peril.
- Keep good records and keep them in order. Whenever you take your car in for any kind of auto repair services, you should keep a record. Your best bet is to keep them with you in the car. These can go a long way towards diagnosing your problem. You might end up having certain vehicle repairs repeated. If you have your records with you and you break down far away from your normal place where you go for vehicle maintenance, you will give the mechanic a lot of good information.
- Pick a repair center and stick with them. It might not be exactly like having a primary care physician but it is pretty close. If you have a mechanic or shop you go to for all of your vehicle repairs, they will also have a record of what has been done. You also have to decide if you are going to take your car to the dealership where they are experts in your kind of car or to the local auto shop where they may not be. You can get good service at both local shops and at the dealership.
- Make sure you get all of your questions answered. It is not a bad thing to want to know more about the car maintenance services that you are getting or need or to learn more about your vehicle. You should never let the people at the vehicle maintenance services center intimidate you. That is a sure sign that this is not the place for you. Good and reputable mechanics are not going to try to get you to buy things you do not need, over charge you or make you feel stupid for asking questions. You have a right to know what is going on with your vehicle.
- Ask for OEM parts. You should ask the people at the vehicle repair center to use parts that are made specifically for your car and not generic. These parts are called, “original equipment manufacturer” (OEM) parts. One of the best ways to keep your car running at its peak is to use equipment that has been built for your car.
- Find a mechanic who has experience with your car. Most vehicles that are on the road today are very complicated machines. They have unique systems. In the past, cars and trucks were more generic so having someone who was very familiar with a certain make and model was not as crucial. That is not true today. You should, if you can, find someone who has a lot of experience working on your kind of car.
- Find out how much you are going to be charged. Different auto shops charge different fees for labor. Many vehicle repair centers will post this information someplace where people who come in will see them but if not, you should ask. Get an estimate for the work you need done if you can. It is always good to have a general sense of what your vehicle repairs will cost before you turn your car over.
Keeping your car running smoothly takes some time, work and effort but it is all worth it. Practicing some good preventative maintenance on your car will pay off for you in the long run.