What Should I Do When My Car Dies on the Road? »
Four tips for keeping yourself and your vehicle safe while you wait.
Four tips for keeping yourself and your vehicle safe while you wait.
When a car is damaged by an accident or weather, what can be repaired and what must be replaced? Or is it time to buy a new car?
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.
I've used Alan And Larry's in the past because I'd rather pay a local person a honest fee for service than a national chain. I had a loud noise coming from the front end of my car, sounded like loud road noise, so I suspected tires. Since I had purchased the tires from Mr. Tire, I went there first. They said the tires were fine, but the front driver's side bearing needed replaced. I elected not to have them fix it, but to take it to Alan and Larry's. They took the car promptly, called the end of the next day that the car was ready. When I went to pick it up, either Al or Larry, I don't know who is who, tells me "ah, I put a scope on both sides, it was the bearing on the passengers side, not the drivers." I think, ah, great, Mr. Tire doesn't know what they're doing. I pay and take the car home. On the ride home, I feel like the noise isn't really gone, but thought to myself "it's in your head." After 4 weeks, the noise was clearly still there and confirmed by my wife when she said "I thought you had this fixed." At the time, the car was sitting at 99K miles and I figure, trade it in now while there is still some value. So, we trade it in and get a new car.... then, after the fact, we find that the dealership says "we had to replace the front drivers bearing." What's that tell me? Mr Tire was correct, Al or Larry was incorrect, and they repaired a perfectly fine bearing. People advise "don't continue to take you car to a dealer to get repaired once you are our of warranty," but after this experience, that's what I'll be doing. No more Al and Larry's.
Alan & Larry both are Very nice, honest people. Pleasure doing business! - Julie at Standard Welding
Very honest and takes pride in his work which is done right the first time. I will never take my car anywhere else ever again.
Mechanic of choice for over 10 years. He has also taken great care of my aging parents needs, often going above and beyond to get them their car, a ride and more. Tells you if something doesn't need done, instead of just doing it and charging you for it. One part he fixed failed, he took it in and repaired the faulty part at NO cost. Hard to find someone to trust, but my family trusts Ed.
I took my car to Ed's Midview Service in Grafton for a problem with my alternator. I took Ed's word that it needed to be replaced. The work was started a day or two late. In the meantime, my recently painted car sat in Ed's poorly lit and crowded parking lot. I finally got my car back with a big dent in the door and the new alternator failed after two days leaving me stranded 25 miles from home. I had to have my car towed and the main alternator wire had to be re-attached by a competent mechanic. It wasn't secured properly the first time. Ed denied all responsibility for the damage and refused to honor any portion of his 12 month warranty. Not even for his own failed wire connection.
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.