What to Know About: Auto Damage »
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?
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.
All it takes is a little preparation to get your car winter-ready and to keep from getting into an icy situation.
It was solid overcast and a little chilly for July as we pulled out of Emporia, KS on a Saturday morning. We being "The Band", had performed the night before at a fundraiser and had another event 8 hours away that night. Leaving Emporia early, and, remarkably, on time at 0700, were feeling good about the day when it happened. An hour and half into the drive, just having taken the on ramp to change our course, it happened. That helpless feeling when you depress the gas pedal and nothing happens. That frustrated feeling when the questions start coming from all quarters; "Did you push a button, or, something?", "Could it be a fuse?", "Is it hot?", none of which I had an immediate answer for. All I knew was the transmission was toast somewhere in Topeka, KS and time was running out to make the next gig. My phone shows a name I recognize not to far away so I call. Jeff answers; "Certified Transmission, this is Jeff how can I help you?" He quickly digested my tale of woe, told me to stand by for a call back. It was Saturday, so the shop was closed, but what I didn't know then were two things; Jeff was not in Topeka, he was, in fact, in Kansas City. The second thing was storms the night before had knocked out phone and internet service to the Topeka Certified Transmission store, so Jeff had all store calls and emails routed to his personal phone. And to be clear, this is Jeffs day off! From Kansas City, Jeff calls me back in minutes. The tow was on the way. Right then a beep alerted me to a text from the tow driver, 10 minutes away, while Jeff explained the details of a rental car waiting already. A nice KIA, which turned out to be a blessing, because we couldn't find a truck rental until the next morning. We missed the gig, got the rental truck and drove home Sunday. The focus of the conversation was to accuratley calculate the weekends losses. On Monday Jeff gives me the news and I braced myself, as we all do, as "The Number" was about to drop. In the scheme of things, it was surprisingly not what I expected at all, and done in a day! In fact, I was happy and not afraid at all to tell my wife how much it was not going to cost us! She was happy! And if all of that was not enough for a fantastic customer experience, Jeff even drove my truck to Kansas City where a friend, passing through town, was able to drive it back to me, saving me 6 hours of driving time! I wonder if Jeff arranged that too? Certified Transmission did a first rate job for me, but Jeff was the star of the show for me.I am forever grateful for his effort and do not hesitate to tell he is the only transmission guy in Topeka you would ever need to call!
This summer, my fiancée and I took a road trip out West and our return route led us through Topeka, Kansas, where we unfortunately broke down. Even worse, we broke down on a Friday, late in the afternoon. Every place we called was unable to even look at our car until Monday. When we found Whitey's, and found that they were open Saturday, we had AAA take our car there. The mechanic quickly discovered a giant hole in the transmission, which I saw with my own eyes, and determined that it needed to be either replaced or rebuilt. Though we weren't getting the part until Monday, the mechanic worked through his day off to ensure that the car was ready when we did. Knowing we were stranded, they could have taken advantage, but they did the opposite. They significantly reduced their labor cost and made every effort to find the cheapest parts. They even gave us rides to and from our hotel. If we had ended up somewhere else we could have been in serious trouble. I am relieved we found an honest, LOCAL place like Whitey's. Highly recommended.
An honest Mechanic?? Who ever heard of that???Matt Nicolay is exactly that. You can spend as much as $800 to get a timing belt and water pump done on a Honda, about the same to have an intake manifold gasket done on your mid 90's Buick; or the front axles and tie-rod ends done on your SUV.Matt does almost any major repair well, and at about HALF of what most shops in Topeka charge.If your car groans when it turns left and you take it to Nicolay, he'll tell you what's wrong, give you the price, and tell you how long you have till it needs to be done.No thirst for blood or money here, just the rare honest man who works on cars.You do need to know that to get in to see him it usually takes a call about a week ahead of time to get in (understandably) but it's ALWAYS worth taking it to Matt, especially on anything major.
In June of 2010, I bought a 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit from Terry Honeyman, the owner of Honeyman Auto. He was very honest about everything. He showed us the carfax and carfox reports and answered all of our questions very honestly. I have had the car for over a year now, and haven't had to do anything but change the oil and filters regularly. He put new tires on the car before putting it on his lot for sale and the car was very very clean inside and out. Terry let us take the car overnight to test it out, to make sure we really wanted it, and of course we loved it. The whole buying process, paperwork and all was very quick and effortless. I would recommend anyone who wants a great deal by an honest dealer, to stop by Honeyman Auto, you won't be disappointed. Terry made a lifelong customer in me and my family.
Great people running this place. They care about putting people into reliable cars for a reasonable price. Unlike some pushy car salesmen, they're not just trying to make a deal for themselves. They actually are worried about getting the customer into a car with bad credit, low income, or whatever the situation may be. The owners are people who have struggled like the rest of us so they really try to help everyone get into whatever car the person wants. Plus they talk and bs with you like you are their friends. I recommend Reds Auto Mart to everyone. I hated car shopping at lots. I never wanted to again. But I had to and ended up at red's and I'll never look at car buying as a huge hassle again and I'll never go anywhere else I'm a lifetime customer and I'll only allow my family to go to them
It's almost impossible to find a good mechanic at a reasonable cost. Sometimes it seems as though they all have a little club where they get together trying to see how they can steal as much of our money as they can..Chris Kern on the other hand is the real deal. I take all of my vehicles to him (quite a few over the years) no matter the make and model, and am happy with the work and the price EVERY time!He'll also tell you the estimated cost before any work is done, I've never been disappointed. You can keep looking for a few more years and dollars, but if you want to skip all of the hassle and heartburn then take it to Kern; honesty seems to be his only policy.
I had this establishment reccomended to me by a few of my friends and due to the location I was a bit hesitant to trust leaving my vehicle, but I have never had any issues with the services provided. There is a customer friendly environment with honest mechanics that have fixed all my mechanical problems without hesitation. They took serious car concerns and put them in laments terms for me to comprehend. After being mistreated by the automechanic servises provided at Lube Stop off Wannamaker the mechanic assured me that they were trying to scam me into replacing both my front shocks and it was not nessicary. I always request Vance.
I have been working with 5th Gear for a long time. Enrique is always upfront and clear about what is needed to fix my car and he is patient enough to fully explain so that I understand why and how I have to fif whatever it is. He also works to try to find as many savings on parts as possible which is really helpful. One of the cheapest labor rates in town so far as I can find. Sometimes it can take a while to get a repair done but that is something that comes with pricing out parts for the best deal etc. Never had to take anything back so far! Overall, very trustworthy mechanic. A+ from me!
My alternator died on me @ the toll booth east of Topeka Ks. @ 8pm It was 19F outside told him I had my dad with me and that he has stage 3 cancer and could not be in the cold for long. Tony showed up within 5 to 10 min of me getting off the phone. Then offered to let my dad sit in his car wile I finished taking off the Alternator. He gave us a ride to the auto parts, got the part on his account. " which saved me $ 40" He only charged $ 45 to come out. Really nice and polite guy. Now I'm home with pop for the Holidays. :)
Every time I make an appointment, I have to wait about an hour to even get in (after my appointment time). There is usually someone new every time I go in. I was sold a road hazard for my tires and told it was lifetime, then something happened four months later and I am told it is a 90 day road hazard. They have lost my lug nut caps and they are going to cost about $80.00 to replace. I am done with this place. I have given them many chances and yet they still continue to disappoint.
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.