What Should I Do When My Car Dies on the Road? »
Four tips for keeping yourself and your vehicle safe while you wait.
I got my car radiator fixed at Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting and I have to say the service was great and the price was right. The turn arou…
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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.
Auto repair shop owner arrested as customers complain of work not donePosted: Feb 07, 2013 4:25 PM ESTUpdated: Feb 17, 2013 4:25 PM ESTShare on facebookShare on twitterShare on email Thomas Robertson (Source: Fairfield County Sheriff)Thomas Robertson (Source: Fairfield County Sheriff)FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) -"He shouldn't get away with this," said Tyrone Gladden. "This is not fair. You pay for a job, you expect the job to be done."Gladden's 1948 F-1 has sentimental value. It's his grandfather's. Gladden's checked the progress on work being done by A-1 Auto Paint and Body, disappointed each time."Many times he called me for parts that he said couldn't be restored, like tailgates, the bed hinges," said Gladden. "I went out and asked him about the parts and he could never show me the parts."Receipts show he's paid $5,770, $2,000 to keep the antique truck inside. Thursday it was out in the rain.Gladden's not alone." I gave Thomas Robertson my hard-earned money and he did not fulfill his obligations," said Jennifer Shepherd. She gave him $800 for a new transmission.Shepherd provided a picture of what she needed."Weeks passed and he got the wrong transmission," she said. "Then he said 'I don't have the transmission. I have to get another one.'"Texts detail the run-around."He texted me and said, 'Call me tomorrow' and when I called him he said he would have the money, then, 'oh well I don't have it. The best I can do is maybe give you $200, $300,'" said ShepherdShepherd was left in a financial hole. WIS tried to get answers, but the Fairfield County Sheriff's Department arrested him before we could confront him.Robertson is charged with breach of contract.When asked why the work wasn't being done, an unnamed shop employee said, "He had like a lawsuit against him and their verbal agreement was if he dropped the lawsuit, he would finish the truck up."Not true. Gladden showed us the signed contract from Robertson promising to finish the work by August. Gladden was so frustrated, he couldn't finish our interview."I was looking forward to showing my family the truck," he cut off.Shepherd's case was criminal because she paid, but was never given a product. She warns others not to fall for new ads placed by Robertson on Craigslist.Because of a lawsuit, a third victim couldn't talk.Investigators say never pay for work up front. Reputable businesses should have enough capital to bill you after the work is done.Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.
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.