Chances are, your car is the most important thing you own, given that it gets you everywhere. You might not know too much about cars, but want to become better educated on their care and repair. If that’s the case, read this article and learn how to do simple maintenance!
When you are at the auto shop, ask a lot of questions concerning your car. These questions should be geared around the problems that you faced and what actions you can take so that they will not happen again. Engaging in preventative measures will likely save you money down the line.
Don’t take an emergency car kit for granted. It should have tire changing tools, a battery charger and tools to top up your gas tank. Also pack a few blankets, some batteries, and a good flashlight.
Check the radiator regularly. Run your engine for several minutes, and then turn it off and pop your hood. You should never open your radiator whenever your car is turned on. Check radiator fluid by using a dipstick and remember to dilute coolant with water prior to adding it.
Test your car out after a repair has been done by a mechanic. Make sure it is operating correctly before full payment is made. Skipping this step is a common error that causes folks to end up with the same issue they have paid to have fixed.
Get OEM components. These are original manufacturer parts. Although generic parts are more affordable, OEM parts are better quality and will last longer. You may save in the short term, but additional failures could end up costing you big time.
Beware mechanics who charge you for repairs which are unnecessary. All reputable mechanics will notify you before doing any repairs and will inform you of any parts that could require repairs in the immediate future. Don’t trust a mechanic who has done repairs without asking.
If you plan to take your car to the shop, do not leave anything inside the car. The mechanic might have to remove certain items, and they won’t be liable if it goes missing. You should also remove all the items from your trunk.
Check to see that your technician knows what he is doing. If you are being talked to in circles and your questions aren’t answered, then you will want to go elsewhere. It is important to have full confidence in the competence of your mechanic. If you don’t, then move on to a better choice.
Look for the warning signs that your mechanic is not as competent as you might hope. If they avoid your questions, you may want to look elsewhere. It is important to have full confidence in the competence of your mechanic. If you don’t, then move on to a better choice.
Before you bring your car to a repair shop, try to determine what is wrong with your car. When you self-diagnose, you avoid fraud and save money. If you bring your car to a shop, you are sure to pay a hefty fee.
Always try to figure out the problem with your car before you bring it in for repairs. You will not be duped, and you can save tons of money when you find out the problem yourself. Some mechanics are dishonest and will say the problem is more serious than it actually is.
Make sure any mechanic you hire knows about your particular vehicle. Different cars require different skill sets. It may be worth the extra cost to have a specialized dealer fix a major problem with your car.
Verify that a prospective mechanic is familiar with your specific car. While the basic components are all the same, there is going to to be a big difference in the way say a Hummer versus a Smart car utilize the space under the hood. If you’re not sure, go to the dealership for repair.
You may not be a mechanic, but your trunk should always have a spare tire and a jack at the very least. New cars often come with a kit you can use to change a tire. You never want to be without them, as you could end up having to pay for an expensive tow. It’s less of a headache and cheaper to do it by yourself.
If you’re having serious repairs done on your vehicle, make sure to get multiple estimates. While a lot of shops are trustworthy, there are some that will charge you for unneeded repairs. Try to find shops that are experts in fixing your specific type of car. These shops can better understand the needed repairs for your vehicle.
If the repairs your car needs are major, get several quotes before hiring a mechanic. Most shops are on the up and up, but some will charge you for things that aren’t necessary. Try and locate a shop that specializes in servicing your particular type of car. Shops like this may understand your car’s needs better.
Never forget about your wiper blades. Replace them when they’re not clearing the windshield well. Your wiper blades should be replaced at least once each year.
If your taillight or headlight burns out, you may save a ton repairing them yourself. While it is different with each vehicle, it is much cheaper to do it yourself. Ask a friend if they’ll help you learn how its done.
Look at all lights that flash on the dashboard and learn what they mean. They are there to help you, so take advantage of that. Don’t ignore any dashboard lights that come on, as the problem may grow worse if it’s ignored.
Take all those fun and fluffy keychains off, or make it possible to remove your car key from the bunch. Though it may not seem to be all that heavy, your car’s ignition cannot handle that much weight pulling down on the key. If you notice the key sticking, then you must get rid of all the extra stuff attached to your keys.
Do not forget that fixing your car yourself comes with some dangers. Never work on your own vehicle without having someone close by. You never know when an emergency may occur. Spend a little more on tools of high quality that will not fall apart. This is particularly true with tire changing tools. If you are getting underneath your car to do some work, you want to be very certain that your jack is holding that car up properly. This is why you should get a high quality hydraulic jack with stands.
If your car has been having a small problem that you think is minor, it may be a good idea to have it checked out anyway. A seemingly small problem may grow into a major one if don’t pay attention to it.
If you want to be sure to have an advocate on your side when you need your car serviced, consider joining the American Automobile Association or AAA. The AAA membership will prove to be invaluable if you break down on the side of the road. They will tow your car to a nearby mechanic. The discounts they provide will end up saving you money over time.
Believe it or not, there are a few shady auto repair businesses that will take your newer tires and switch them with older tires. They sell your tires and make a profit off your ignorance. Before you go in, place some chalk on your tires to mark them up. Look for the chalk when you pick up your car.
After paying to replace old parts, make sure the mechanic gives you the old ones that were removed. If they refuse, this could mean that they didn’t replace anything. Mechanics should be happy to provide you with the old part.
Don’t let anyone sell auto parts to you claiming that they’ll last a lifetime. Often, this is how businesses try to reel you in. Lifetime deals are typically not legitimate. Though the change time on transmission fluid is very long, it should be swapped every 80,000 miles.
Use an accordion file folder to contain all auto service receipts and keep this folder in your car. You can divide them by type of repair and maintenance or use a simple reverse chronology system in which you place the most recent repair receipt on top. You just want to make sure you have a full maintenance record for the car so that you can ensure proper repairs and full satisfaction should a dispute arise. When you sell you car, it can come in handy as well.
Few people take the time to go over the manual that comes with their vehicle. It is wise to at least give this manual a cursory look so you can quickly locate useful information. It has important information about your car that you need to be aware of.
Let your mechanic know that you do not want to spend more than a certain amount on unauthorized repairs. If you don’t set a limit, it can invite unwanted and unneeded repairs from unscrupulous mechanics. Tell them your maximum expenditure and ensure they’ll call you if they’re approaching it.
Talk to the manufacturer when you have a safety issue which could be fatal. Manufacturers issue recalls for some vehicles that have recurring issues and you can get your manufacturer to consider recalling the vehicle if other people run into the same problem. In most cases, the manufacturer will fix your car for you.
When talking to a mechanic, ask questions. In addition to asking about the price, tell them you want repair details. How long is the repair going to take them? What work is being attended to? How much is the cost of the parts? Make any other inquiries you can think of. This will make you appear informed and help if this happens later.
Join AAA if you need someone to help you with an auto repair. If you need towing or car repairs, this can be a lifesaver. In fact. a lot of the time AAA has discounts that will help you save money.
Ask for your old parts to be returned to you when a mechanic replaces a part. This will ensure that they did the work for you. For exhaust systems, this isn’t necessary. It is easy to tell whether or not a new exhaust has been installed.
If the mechanic does not want to provide you with a written cost breakdown, find someone else to do the job. If the work is shoddy, it will be hard for you to recover damages if you have no written contract.
Ask for a quote that has an itemized list of how much parts and labor will run you. This makes it easier for you to compare quotes between two mechanics. The parts’ cost should be very similar, so it will be labor that you truly compare.
Ask people you know to recommend a mechanic to you. This is a great way to locate a good mechanic because you know first hand that they have done good work in the past. This is a far better option than giving your business to a mechanic you know nothing about.
Determine whether you wish to service cars by the dealership or an independent garage. Dealers are expensive, but they really know what they’re doing. While the regular auto shops might cost less money, you can also be at the mercy of a dishonest auto repair shop.
Don’t ever fill your windshield washer with water. Water can clean your windshield, but since the system requires that specific fluid, you could damage it. Check the reservoir regularly, about as often as you check the oil and fluid levels. But don’t try to add more if it is already full.
Keep good records of your car’s repair history. Keep the records in your car, if possible. These records will help you diagnose recurring problems and give mechanics a good idea of the kind of repairs you made in the past. It will save a bunch of time when diagnosing issues.
You should always care for your car. Even if you only learn to do a few easy maintenance tasks, you can save a lot compared to what a mechanic would charge you. Implement what you have just read the next time you need your car repaired.
Avoid doing work on your car unless you actually know what you’re doing. You could cause more damages and even void the warranty if you make a mistake. This makes you totally responsible for all car repairs going forward.