How to Winterize Your Car »
All it takes is a little preparation to get your car winter-ready and to keep from getting into an icy situation.
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All it takes is a little preparation to get your car winter-ready and to keep from getting into an icy situation.
No matter whether an accident involved a freshly licensed teen or an experienced driver, knowing what to do (or not do) is essential to bouncing back.
It’s time to bring long sleeves and long pants out of storage, prep your home and car, and contact the cool weather home/yard contractors.
"Took my car here for an inspection and a load of repairs that I knew were coming (brakes, tires, oil change). I had the tires ordered on http://TireRack.com (like it suggests on their website) and they were delivered in a day, installed for a reasonable price. Not dirt cheap, but reasonable and better than Firestone or NTB. Unfortunately for my bank account, there were a few pricey additional items needed (catalytic converter, engine mount). Unlike everyone else on here with add-ons, I don't think they were trying to fleece me. The check engine light had been going on and off for some time, which was related to a hole found in the exhaust. With Hyundai Elantras, the exhaust flex pipe is part of the cat, so it was necessary to replace. I double checked what the guys had told me with my own research and found no reason to distrust them. The car had been making some general ""rough"" noises, which I reasoned to be the cracked engine mount. I also explained my financial situation (poor) and they tried everything they could to help, such as make sure the O2 sensor was no longer malfunctioning after replacing the cat, instead of just replacing it as well. And I'm pretty sure they threw in a pair of new windshield wipers. :-) After the fact, I looked at the parts and labor costs, and found that they were very reasonable, if not better than other places I have been in the past. The car now rides like a dream: quiet, no rumbles, squeaks or other ""rough"" noises as I mentioned before. Good job Baum Blvd Auto! On a side note, the lobby is pretty awesome, which some of the owner's collection of antique radios, a baseball pinball machine and cool signs."
I have never met Tim, but I trust him explicitly. My daughter is a Pitt student & we live in NJ. She had taken her car to Walter’s Automotive on a couple of occasions for minor repairs. He always did just what was needed without any “creative” solutions to phantom problems. Then 2 weeks ago, my daughter had a freak accident on I - 279. She hit some debris on the highway that flew up into the engine and put a hole in the oil filter. The damage was done quickly. Not knowing where else to tow the car, she had it towed to Walter’s Automotive. The next morning, Tim called to say he tried to repair it by putting a new oil filter & 4 quarts of oil in it, but it really needed a new engine. They do not do that kind of work, but he was so helpful I could not believe it. Not only did he let us keep the car at his place for 5 days, but he went out of his way to help me find another shop that would do a quality repair job. He was not going to make any money on the repair, but he still treated the situation like it was his own daughter’s car. It was such a relief to a dad 300 miles away that my daughter’s car was in such good hands. I wish I had a mechanic I could trust like Tim in NJ.
Everyone in the service department at the dealership has been tremendous, but I cannot say the same for BMW on a corporate level. My car is only a few months old and the keep fob fell apart. I called the BMW corporate number to complain, and after more than 20 minutes on hold, they told me they would not cover it. I had to pay $250 for a new fob which had to be programmed at the dealership. However, the new key fob would not work. After FOUR trips to the dealership on four different days, it was finally programmed. It was not the dealership's fault - it was BMW's --- the BMW corporate engineers couldn't figure out the problem. They ordered a second new fob and still had problems programming it. I had to take off work on four separate days for this inconvenience, it cost the dealership and their mechanics time and money (shuttle service and rental car). This was not the dealership's fault and they should not have to have incurred the time and costs. The dealership couldn't have been more accommodating to me - they were wonderful. However, I am very unhappy with BMW on a corporate level. I should not have had to go to this expense, inconvenience and trouble.
There are more than 700,000 auto service technicians and mechanics in the U.S. Finding the right one to repair a dent in your car door or fix an engine that won't start can be overwhelming, especially when it's an emergency. Review a few important facts about auto repair professionals and what you can do to get the best possible mechanic working on your vehicle's issues for a fair price.
Looking For Reliability
Unlike home repair services that evaluate a property, meet with homeowners and have time to prepare before their physical work begins, auto repair businesses are often asked to make fixes on the spot. If you come into a garage with a tire issue, the expectation is the mechanic will know how to correct that problem quickly.
That is why reliability is so vital when searching for a trusted auto repair shop. It may take going to several different mechanics before you find one you are truly comfortable with. Pose questions to this professional to find out what approach they will take to repair your car or what alternatives are available. Shopping around also gives you the best opportunity to find the cheapest rate or the fastest service, as some garages may be backed up with other vehicles that need repair first.
A recommended way to locate a trustworthy auto repair professional is to seek out customer reviews. Online sites offer honest opinions from real customers who have used a business. Read through this feedback to learn how a business operates and what you can expect if you were to take your vehicle there. Look for reviews about how quick maintenance was completed and if prices were fair. By learning what other people have said about a garage, you can gain a better idea if it's the right place to go when you have a car problem in need of fixing.
It can be difficult to know which automotive problems are serious enough to require expert assistance. A ripped seat cushion or broken radio don't involve safety and will not warrant enough of a problem that going into a garage is required. However, setbacks with brakes, lights and other parts that are vital to the safety of your car's driver and passengers, as well as others on the road, necessitate quick fixes. Many modern automobiles will notify drivers of an issue, in the form of a signal on the dashboard or a noise within the vehicle.
In the event of an accident, even if your vehicle does not appear to have any damage on the outside, it is generally recommended that you see a trusted auto repair professional. Internal damage may have occurred, or an important part may have been knocked out of place. Fixing these issues before driving much further can prevent further vehicle breakdowns in the future. In the case of a serious accident, a body shop can assess the problems and determine the best course of action for repairs, as well as evaluate how much they will cost.
Beyond that, regular checkups are recommended. Tires must be rotated, fluids needs to be replaced and the engine must be evaluated. After driving 25,000 miles, most auto dealers suggest having the vehicle checked out to ensure everything is running smoothly. Taking the car into the auto repair professional you trust will protect you from further problems down the road.
Not every type of auto repair work needs to be done by a certified mechanic. You can fix some of a vehicle's issues just by paying attention to how the automobile is running and having a basic understanding of auto repair. Look over the ways weather may impact your car and what preventative measures you can take to avoid having to take it into the shop. At the same time, be aware of mechanic scams that can impact your experience.
Preventing Trips To The Professional
Some fixes to your car can be done without paying a specialist. Issues like replacing oil and air filters are relatively simple, with instructions provided in the owner's manual on how to make these changes. The same goes for replacing broken windshield wipers or burnt-out headlights. Such issues should be repaired quickly to guarantee safety, but don't require a visit to a garage. By handling these types of tasks on your own, you'll gain a better understanding for how your car operates and save time and money.
Along with understanding how to fix manageable vehicle issues that may arise, taking preventative measures to avoid future problems is a valuable time saver. Many problem-solving best practices are related to the seasons. Your vehicle will be in different conditions in the winter than in the summer, meaning it requires a different type of preparation.
In the spring and summer, you want to be sure your air conditioner and cooling systems work correctly. Given the high temperatures the vehicle will be exposed to, overheating is a common problem. Look over the system by ensuring there is enough coolant available. If it needs to be refilled, it is best to open the hood and add more to the car before it gets too warm out. Also, clean out fan ducts and other ventilation sources necessary for summertime driving.
For winter driving, features such as the defroster, heater and exhaust system are paramount. Look in your owner's manual for specific directions on how features should be checked and repaired. Many newer cars have a cabin air filter that can be replaced when needed, allowing warm air to continue to flow in. Also, check your tires before winter driving, as they need to be at the proper pressure to perform well on snow and ice.
There is a common worry among many people that auto repair professionals take advantage of the general public. Because so many people are unaware of how to fix the problems in their vehicle, they are nervous of being overcharged by mechanics or worried that the improper work is being done.
While the great majority of professionals in the industry are honest, hard-working people, a few bad apples can ruin everything. You should be extra careful when first visiting a mechanic to guarantee that the price you're charged and maintenance the vehicle receives are fair.
Among the common scams pulled are needless repairs, where a garage charges you for work that isn't necessary. Another popular one is attracting customers through a cheap oil change or tire pressure check. Then, when you are in the shop and your car is being repaired, they give you a long list of other corrections they'd like to make, therefore boosting the total cost of your bill.
The best way to combat these types of problems is getting a written estimate before work is done. That way, you can see how much repairs are expected to cost. If the final bill is higher than the estimate projected, ask to specifically see the work. Make sure information is put in writing as well. If a problem remains, you can have proof that work was not done to your satisfaction.
By working closely with an auto repair professional and doing some of the tune-up work on your own, you will be less likely to fall for these scams. At the same time, you'll be able to drive out with a clean and healthy vehicle, thanks to the repairs made by a trained professional.