You probably think of your vehicle as one of the best things in your life because you need it to to go places. You might not know too much about cars, but want to become better educated on their care and repair. If that’s what you want, read on to learn about simple maintenance.
Always know how much your repairs will cost before handing your car over to a service department. If you aren’t sure about anything, ask for clarification. You probably don’t want to incur extra charges after the car has been repaired.
Have a battery charger in your car at all times. Dead batteries are a very common problem for all car owners. Not only will you be able to charge up your battery, you can also help others whose battery has broken down. Find out where to connect the charger to your car.
Inquire as to whether the mechanic has had previous experience working on your specific vehicle model before. If so, they will probably know what must be done to help your car work again.
Your radiator needs to be looked over regularly. Allow your car to run for a bit and then turn it off and pop open the hood. Do not lift the radiator lid when the engine is running or if it is too hot. Use a dipstick to check the amount of fluid in the radiator. You should also make sure to mix coolant fluid with water before you pour it into your radiator.
A good referral makes it much easier to locate a trustworthy mechanic. Speak with others you know to see if they can recommend someone to you. This lets you ask them about their experiences with that mechanic, how much it cost, and if they were satisfied. People will let you know if their experiences were good or bad and how honest the auto repair shop was with them.
You do not have to contact a mechanic every time your car has problems. Many situations can be self-remedied. Try troubleshooting the issue on the Internet or talk to your friends to see if they have an idea of what could be wrong with your vehicle. If the repair is not difficult, you can fix it yourself and save a lot of money.
Look up reviews online for body shops in your area. This will tell you everything you need to know about the shop. Use this information to choose a shop that you’re comfortable with giving money to.
Wash your car regularly to prevent rust from becoming a problem. Salt and other harmful chemicals will speed up the rusting process. If you want to avoid rust at all costs, do your best to clean the car thoroughly after contact with these substances. Use a good wax to protect your paint job as much as possible.
Be wary of mechanics that try and make unnecessary repairs to your car. 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. A mechanic who has performed this practice should never be patronized again.
Consider using OEM parts. Those are the original parts from the manufacturer. While generic could be a cheaper option, you don’t know how they will perform in the future. What is a cheap option now could be an expensive option later.
Make sure you replace old parts with OEM parts. These means they are parts that come directly from the manufacturer. Although using generic parts may provide some short-term savings, it’s impossible to know whether or not they’ll hold up as well as OEM parts. It might be a great deal, but if you have to continue to replace the part, it is not going to be a good deal in the long run.
Do not leave valuable items in the interior of your car if you need to leave it at the repair shop. The mechanic may find that these things get in the way and they may get misplaced to where they cannot be located later. Remove all items from your trunk too.
Attempt to self-diagnose ahead of going to a garage. This will save you a ton of money, and it can prevent you from becoming a fraud victim. Experience shows that mechanics sometimes falsely claim a problem exists and do an unnecessary repair, to increase their earnings.
Regularly clean your headlights to keep them shining bright. Sometimes the road can create a greasy residue on the headlight. Use glass cleaner to wash them thoroughly.
You should not send your vehicle to a repair shop without getting quotes from different places. Do not pay extra money for a service that can be performed at a fraction of the cost. Seek out good shops that that are reputable and familiar with your type of vehicle. Shops like these understand your car through and through.
Replacing a burnt-out headlight or taillight is much cheaper when you do it by yourself. Some vehicles make it easier to do, but it’s cheaper than getting a mechanic to do it. If you know anyone who is comfortable with cars, ask if they can show you how it’s done.
Ask for labor rates or prices before hiring a mechanic. Ask questions until you are sure you have clear answers. This will give you a better idea of what you will be billed. Some shops provide repair time estimates established by manufacturers. Some “Minor” repairs could take all day if they go by those manufacturers’ established times.
Always shop around and get a second opinion before paying for an expensive repair. Some shops have their rates in conspicuous places, so read carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand something. You have a right to know how much a repair will cost and what it will consist of. Many car dealerships may charge by “book time” which is a set rate based on how long the repair should take to do. Other shops may charge an inflated rate for a minor repair that should be done within a shorter period of time.
Keep in mind that you don’t need the dealer for auto repairs. There are several reputable technicians in auto shops and at dealerships. If you feel comfortable with someone, use them.
Be sure you know how often the oil needs changing. Your vehicle may mot run smoothly or efficiently if you do not take this important step. In the long run, omitting this important step could cost you thousands of dollars, and it could lead your vehicle to an early death.
Do not forget that fixing your car yourself comes with some dangers. Have a person close by to help if an emergency occurs. Invest in high quality tools that won’t break on you. This holds true particularly in the case of the tools needed for changing tires. The jack needs to be reliable so you are safe when you go under the car. A hydraulic jack which comes with jack stands that are approved is your best bet.
Before you go somewhere to take care of your automobile problems, learn what you can about car-part classifications. Parts can be new, rebuilt or reconditioned, or salvaged. “New” parts have been just created to the manufacturer’s specifications either by them or an independent retailer. Re-manufactured, rebuilt and reconditioned happen to be parts that have been restored to a decent working condition. Salvage parts are parts that are used and have never been altered.
Whenever you fill your gas tank, check the pressure of your tires. Inspect your tires at this time, looking for anything that has become embedded. If there’s an issue, get it fixed quickly. Driving with faulty tires is extremely dangerous.
Check to see that the technician is certified. These certifications can make you feel comfortable when you are getting your repair. This indicates that the person should know what they are doing, and you are much more likely to get good service as a result.
Consider taking pictures of all areas of your vehicle before you bring it in to be repaired at an auto body shop. Most shops are reputable but there are always a few bad apples out there. It is in your best interest to have documentation of your vehicle’s condition, just in case.
If you’re experiencing a major problem with your brand new car, call the manufacturer immediately. There may be others having the same issues and it may require a recall from the manufacturer. In most cases, the manufacturer will fix your car for you.
Keep an eye open for a shop that takes off your good tires and puts older ones on. They usually do this to make a quick buck from you. Prior to going there, you should put chalk on the tires so they’re marked. If your chalk is missing when you go to retrieve your vehicle, you’ve been taken.
Mechanics that estimate over $200 for service should be asked for a written statement. Having written documentation is useful should you need to complain down the road. Another advantage to the estimate is that you can ensure the mechanic will focus only on the repairs needed and not extras.
Consistency counts for something in auto repair. Stay with an auto repair shop you have trust in instead of seeing different people all the time. Each shop may provide a different answer to your problem. They could also charge you more; don’t let this happen.
Set cash limits on what car work can be done without specific authorization. Whenever you visit a shop, you should never allow the mechanics to perform very costly repairs on their own. It is important that you set a specific amount that the mechanics cannot go over without calling you for your permission.
If you’re concerned about your mechanic, look at AAA. Joining them can help you when you need a deal at a body shop or a tow truck. In fact, you will often find that AAA will have discounts that will save you a lot of money.
Pay attention to any sounds your car is making. Noises can be a great indicator of problems your car is having. Describing the noise to a mechanic may make it simpler for him to figure out what is wrong.
Sometimes the best choice is to use mechanics at a car dealer. The dealer’s technicians specialize in the model and make of your car. They have rapid diagnostic tools and are used to handling common problems with your specific vehicle. There are many training programs that they have to pass to become certified.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your mechanic. You need a thorough understanding of the repair, not just a price quote. What is the timeline? Ask questions about the work being performed and why it is needed. What is the breakdown cost per part? Ask them anything and everything that you can think of. This will let the mechanic know that you are well informed, and if the problem comes up at another time, you might be able to fix it.
Once you have paid a mechanic for replacing a part of your vehicle, ask him or her if you can keep the old part. If your mechanic cannot show you the parts, you have no way of knowing if the parts have actually been replaced. Mechanics should be happy to provide you with the old part.
Familiarize yourself with your vehicle and pay attention to the small things that influence its performance. You should never completely rely on your mechanic whenever an issue arises; however, unless you spend time learning all about your vehicle, you will continue to rely on this person. You’ll save a great deal of money by doing routine maintenance yourself.
In conclusion, it’s important to care for your car. Simple maintenance can help you avoid the mechanic and save you money. Apply what you’ve just learned here, and you’ll be confident making repairs going forward.
You will have many options as to where you want your car fixed. Dealerships can be quite costly, but they are staffed with technicians specialized in servicing your particular vehicle. Independent repair shops are the cheaper option, but you also may run into a shop that is dishonest.