Is your car making an odd noise or running rough? Maybe it's just time for an oil change or other scheduled maintenance. Whatever the case, you are getting ready to make your way down to your local mechanic. Sadly, this is an intimidating experience for many people. This is often the result of old and unfair stereotypes about auto repair shops, but with a little bit of knowledge, you can be confident that you are getting a great deal and that your car will be fixed right the first time. These tips will help you to make sure that any visit to the mechanic is a successful one.
Know Your Symptoms
If your visit isn't for routine work, then the most important thing you can do is properly describe the symptoms that you are experiencing. If your car is making an unusual noise, you should be able to describe the noise, as well as the circumstances under which it happens. If your vehicle's symptoms aren't happening constantly, then do your best to find the circumstances that reliably reproduce them. This might require a bit of detective work on your part, but it's an important step. A little extra time up front can save you a lot of money as your mechanic will not need to blindly poke around in order to find the problem.
Call Multiple Shops
If you can describe the problem that your car is having, then calling multiple shops for estimates should be a piece of cake. If you get wide-ranging estimates, however, don't assume that you are being cheated. Often, one symptom can have a wide range of possible causes, and each mechanic that you speak to may have his or her own idea of what's wrong. Pay attention to what you're told the problem might be since this can provide you with an idea of the likely minimum and maximum costs that you will face.
Ask for Parts Details
If a part on your car will be replaced, always be sure to request information about the replacement parts. Will they be genuine parts or will they be aftermarket replacements? Does the shop use used parts or do they only use new parts? There's nothing wrong with using aftermarket or used parts to save a few bucks, but it's important to know up front so that you can confirm the shop is using trusted brands. You also should not be afraid to ask a shop to use OEM or genuine parts if that's your preference. While most shops will not want to install customer-purchased parts, many are happy to order the specific parts that you want.
Request Warranty Details
Finally, always be sure to ask for how the work will be warrantied. Any warranty should be provided to you in writing, and if parts are replaced, you should also expect that warranty information to be provided to you. It's also worthwhile to ask about the shop's policy on labor should a part that's under warranty fail. Some shops will only provide a warranty against defects in their own work, while others will agree to replace a defective part even if it was properly installed. Make sure you are comfortable with the shop's warranty policy, whatever it may be.
Most of all, remember that the vast majority of mechanics want to do a good job and get your car back on the road. If you take your time in selecting a trustworthy auto repair shop, your trip to the mechanic should be a smooth and painless one.