B, an automotive service technician with over 20 years experience, shares these tips to make your car repair a little smoother:
1. Your owner’s manual does have a purpose besides taking up space in your glove box. Checking it before taking your car in not only can answer a lot of questions but can also save you money by making the trip to the garage unnecessary.
2. Every product is not made the same. Just because your/your friend’s/your boyfriend’s (fill in make of car) runs this way, doesn’t mean your (fill in make of car) will.
3. Don’t ignore your car. When the “check oil,” “tire pressure,” “check engine” or “stop engine” light comes on, it’s not a suggestion and it’s not meant to put off until convenient. In some luxury cars, ignoring the “stop engine” light is a $30,000 mistake.
4. Unless you know what you’re doing, leave the repair work to your mechanic. Many mechanics have made a lot of money from correcting mistakes well-intended people do to their own cars.
5. When you buy your car, always take into account maintenance and repair costs and add those into the expense of having that particular car.
6. Many after-market parts are not nearly as good a quality as factory ones.
7. Don’t leave any items of value in your car – – that includes coins, CDs, etc. Not all mechanics are honest; some will steal whatever they can easily take while working on your car.
8. Always check your invoice before you pay. The same mechanics who will lift personal items from your car may not hesitate to add charges to your bill in the hopes you won’t notice – – many get paid by the service they perform, meaning the more services you have listed on your bill, the larger their paycheck.
9. Be considerate and realistic when scheduling your maintenance and repairs. Don’t expect to be able to bring your car in the day before you leave on vacation – – and give yourself (and your mechanic) a cushion in case other issues are found, parts need to be ordered, etc.
10. No matter what company stands behind the product, all man-made items break.