Owning a car gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want. However, owning a car also means that you have to keep your vehicle in good working order. By learning some of the basics of auto repair, you can make sure that your car is always running smoothly.
Before you let the mechanic work on your car, make sure that you have all of the prices down. Ask about any additional fees that may come up during the repair and any charges that you may not be aware of. This will ensure that you are not surprised when the bill comes for your car repair.
Check the fluids in your car regularly. Check the oil level with the dipstick you can find under your hood. The dipstick should have a mark on it to indicate the ideal oil level. Add a quart of oil if you need to and check the level again after letting your car run for a few minutes.
Protect your car from water damage. Take the time to make sure all windows and doors are properly closed. Keep your car on higher ground if you live in an area that’s easily flooded. If you have sandbags, build a wall around your car. Don’t drive in areas with high water levels. Don’t start your car if it’s been exposed to flood waters.
You need your records available at all times. A good place to keep these records in the glove box, so you can produce them on demand when talking to a mechanic. Auto repair professionals likely will want to see those records. This can make the process go more smoothly.
Understand the repair costs prior to leaving your car with any shop. Labor costs especially can run at different levels from shop to shop, especially if a specialist is involved. You’ll want to know what you are getting into prior to learning about it the hard way days later.
If your car door and hatch locks tend to become stiff, avoid breaking your key off in the lock by lubricating them periodically with a penetrating oil spray. You can use the plastic extender that comes with the spray can to deliver oil to the interior of the locking mechanism. If you have misplaced this extender, just spray your key liberally and turn it in the stiff lock several times.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. It is your car, and you need to know why it is important to fix a specific item right away. If you are feeling intimated, or you are not receiving straight answers, get a second opinion before signing off on the work.
Ask your auto mechanic about their A.S.E. certification. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence has a test twice a year for it. To earn this certification, mechanics must pass a written test while also having about two years of work experience in auto mechanics and repair. This certification increases your chances of finding competent mechanics.
There are no standard warranties on repairs. Make sure you are aware of what your warranty covers and that you have it in writing. Warranties may have limitations such as deductibles, mileage, time, businesses authorized to do the warranty work or special steps needed to get reimbursement. Know your warranty rights.
Auto repair does not have to be as mysterious a subject as many mechanics make it sound. Once you understand some of the basics, you can make your own repairs at home without the inconvenience of taking your car into the shop. Use the tips you have just read to keep your car in good condition.