Know Your Car
One thing that every driver should do when they get a new or new-to-them vehicle is familiarize themselves with their owner’s manual. I know, I know – nobody ever reads the manual, but I promise it’ll help you save money in the long-run. Think about it for a sec – if you know what absolutely needs to be done at regular intervals for your particular model, you can make sure they get done at every service interval to avoid small issues building up because of a lack of maintenance, and your vehicle will thank you for it in the long run.
Be Clear And Specific
Use all your senses to describe the problem: sense of smell, sense of hearing, sense of touch/feel, sense of sight – all of it can help you to describe a problem more specifically to your technician so he or she can spend more time fixing the problem without as much guesswork. Be sure to clue them in on any strange sounds it makes and when it makes them, whether it pulls to the left or the right and what speeds it occurs in, etc. All of this information is vital to finding the problem and the right solution.
Know Your Warranty
If you are aware of what parts or issues are covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, then you can take them to be repaired at the dealership after you’ve gotten an official analysis of the problem, rather than spending money you don’t have to on a repair that’s covered. Having it repaired at a local shop shouldn’t void the warranty, but since they are independent they won’t be able to honor the warranty, so you may have to pay for the repair. Who wants to pay for repairs when they could get them done for no charge? Not this guy.
Second Opinions Matter
Now, I know that nobody wants to spend all day going from repair shop to repair shop trying to figure out what’s wrong with your car. However, getting a second opinion could potentially save you a few bucks when dealing with auto repairs, and it can also serve to give you some peace of mind. If you’re unsure about what the mechanic is telling you, or if you’re not to keen on the price, or whatever the case may be, go have it checked out at another shop. When you go, there’s no need to repeat what the other mechanic said – provide them with the same information you gave the other shop, and see what they say or are able to find. After all, even though we’d like to believe that everyone is honest, this is simply not the case, unfortunately; some people really will take you through hoops to get a little extra income into the shop, so getting a second opinion works as a kind of stopper to that.
Check Labor Rates
When you take your vehicle to get repairs, you’re not just paying for the parts to be replaced – you’re paying for the time and effort it takes for the mechanics to put them in and ensure the vehicle is in proper working order before it’s returned to you! Most shops will have different rates for different types of repairs, so it’s best to inquire about the price of the labor for a specific repair before handing over the keys. After the repair is finished, you also need to go through your bill to ensure you’re being charged for the correct repairs at the rate they informed you of when discussing the issues.
Use School Shop Classes
Like many schools specializing in a certain customer-central profession, many Auto Body and Mechanic schools offer hands-on training, and sometimes you’re able to take your vehicle in to let a student do the repairs for you as a part of their training. Now, I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who are a bit iffy on this prospect, but don’t fret; they have instructors present to help if they have any questions, and they are being trained to do their job correctly. Really, who better to trust with your repairs than a student? They want to pass, and to pass, they have to do the job the right way – and isn’t that the way you want your repairs done?
Ask About Shop Deals Or Specials
An auto body shop, at the end of the day, is a business. They do repairs for profit to keep the store open, and any store knows that deals – aside from your overall reputation – are where you get a lot of your business. Though some shops don’t advertise as plainly as a retail chain might, they definitely will run deals from time to time, and all you have to do is ask what kind they have going on when you go in.
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