Car repair rips-offs cannot be avoided if a car owner does not have any idea about common car problems. Aside from choosing a good mechanic, it is also necessary you know the kind of questions you should ask. The most basic step to take if you want your car to be in good condition is to choose a repair shop. Unfortunately, choosing a repair shop is easier said than done and can be time-consuming especially for first-timers.
What a car owner should look for when choosing a repair shop?
• Shop around for some qualified repair shops by phone and online and only choose companies with reasonable warranty policies on repairs.
• Get some recommendations from friends, family and colleagues. It is recommended you look for a repair shop before you need one so you will not end up making a last-minute decision.
• Before you choose a repair shop, make sure the shop will honor your car’s warranty.
Never allow a shop or technician to perform any work without explaining the cost of the service. There are shops that charge a flat rate and others charge based on the time the technician worked on the repair. You should also get a second opinion if you need complicated repairs. Note that there will be a diagnostic charge if you want work performed elsewhere.
There are repair shops that may also charge you for diagnostic time. When going over a written estimate, there are essential information that must be included such as the condition to be repaired, the parts needed, the type of work to be performed and the repair shop’s contact number. The written estimate must also be a signed copy. Being able to understand the parts to be replaced or repaired also pays off. The parts are classified as new, remanufactured and salvage.
New parts are made to the original manufacturer’s specification. It can either be a vehicle manufacturer or an independent company. There are some states that require repair shops to inform customers if non-original equipment will be used in the repair. It is also interesting to note that the quality and prices of these parts vary.
Remanufactured parts refer to the parts that have been restored to a working condition. There are manufacturers that offer a warranty for replacement but not on installation.
Salvage parts are the parts that are taken from another car without any alteration. There are times when salvage parts may be the only source for a specific item, but their reliability may always be guaranteed.
The consequences of postponing maintenance:
There are parts of your car that are interrelated and when preventive maintenance is postponed, it can lead to trouble. This is why you should not neglect simple routine maintenance such as checking the coolant or changing the oil. Your warranty will also be invalidated if you delay repairs and maintenance.
In order to avoid costly repairs, make sure you follow manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, which can be found on the owner’s manual. There are repair shops that also create their own maintenance schedules and with that said, you may need more frequent servicing than the recommendations of your manufacturer. It is best to compare shop maintenance schedules with the manufacturer’s recommendation and take time to ask the repair shop for an explanation so you will be able to understand the reason for recommendations.