When it comes to dealing with car repair shops, most people would want to just drop off their cars to have them fixed, and then forget about it until it is time to pick it up. However, this will likely ensure that you will not get the high level of service your car deserves. Keep in mind that your car is one of your biggest financial investments and so you have to take good care of it. Here are some tips that can help you get the most of your car repair shop.
- Knowing is half the battle. Go through your owner’s manual frequently so you’ll know the ins and outs of your car. Familiarizing yourself with the manual will also make it easier for you to identify what the problem is and you can either resolve it yourself or be able to communicate it to the mechanic.
- Document everything. Each time your car is maintained, keep a record of it and bring those records to the shop. This will ensure that the mechanic does not perform any redundant repairs that have already been done and save you money. In addition, these records might also help the mechanic identify the problem.
- Are you being charged fairly? Don’t accept the quote at face value but ask questions about it, such as what work is covered by it and how it was estimated. Get the estimate down in writing to ensure that you won’t suddenly be charged a higher quote later. If you have any doubts about the quote or would simply like to check their rates, you can inquire from other reputable shops about what they would charge for the specific work that needs to be done. If you get similar quotes, then you’ll know that the shop is giving you a fair rate.
- Don’t give them a blanket authorization to do repairs. Make sure that any repair they do has your okay first before they do it. Leave your contact numbers with the shop to ensure that the mechanic or shop representative can easily reach you.
- Ask for OEM parts. Original equipment manufacturer parts can ensure that your car continues to perform at its optimal level since they help to keep your car as close to the original manufacturer specifications as possible. While using generic or aftermarket parts can save you money in the short term, you might end up paying more in the long term when your car’s performance becomes compromised.
- Don’t just fork over the money. Look over the bill and check your car to see if the repairs indicated were indeed performed. The final bill should be close to the original estimate; if it is not, ask about it.
- If possible, ask for a written warranty. This is not only an indicator that the shop you are dealing with is reputable, but it also protects you in case there was a problem with the repair. In this case, the warranty ensures that the shop will take care of it at no extra charge.