Everyone has to deal with auto repairs at some time in their life. Car repairs can cost a significant amount of money. Whether you are doing the repairs yourself or hiring a mechanic, it is a good idea to know what you are doing. Use these tips to be better prepared when you have to fix your car.
Make sure the oil in your vehicle is changed about every 3,000 miles. Waiting longer for an oil change can result in dirt and debris fouling your oil and that can damage your engine. If you use synthetic oil in your vehicle, you only need to change the filter every other oil change.
Check the tread on your tires regularly to make sure they are safe. Tires that have less than one quarter of an inch of tread probably need to be replaced. Also be aware of any bulges or cuts on the surface of your tires as this may indicate a weak area that could blow out and cause an accident while you are driving.
Communicate with your mechanic as much as possible. Explain the issues you have been encountering with your car and do not hesitate to ask questions to your mechanic if you do not fully understand the repairs that are needed. Ask about prices and do not let your mechanic fix your car until you fully understand charges.
Make sure that you have car records on file. Some people keep this paperwork in the glove compartment of their car so it is readily available, if needed. Professional mechanics will ask to review the records. This will allow them to figure out what the issues are quickly.
If your car door and hatch locks tend to become stiff, avoid breaking your key off in the lock by lubricating them periodically with a penetrating oil spray. You can use the plastic extender that comes with the spray can to deliver oil to the interior of the locking mechanism. If you have misplaced this extender, just spray your key liberally and turn it in the stiff lock several times.
If you are having work done on your car, make sure you get a written estimate beforehand. The estimate should include what is being repaired, the parts that will be needed and the anticipated cost for labor. It should also say that they will call for your approval before doing any additional work which exceeds the amount or time specified.
Know your car before taking it in for any auto repairs. If you have little knowledge on the specs of your model car, you may end up being taken for a ride without you knowing it. Read through your manual at the bare minimum before going for any larger repairs.
Understand how the repair shop you are considering charges before signing any agreements. Some shops will charge a flat fee for labor, while others base it off of time. Some will opt for original parts, while others will use generics. Know what you have ahead of you before being accountable.
Even if you aren’t particularly handy, there are a few DIY repairs that almost anyone can do. For example, changing the windshield wiper blades is really just a matter of snapping off one set and snapping on another. Look in your user’s manual or use a measuring tape to determine what size you need. Don’t be dismayed if the store where you purchase your windshield wiper blades only has one in the right size. You can use one that is an inch shorter on the passenger side of your windshield without causing any problems.
Know the basics. If you have to take your car into the shop, be prepared to let them know what the make and model of your car is. Also, the actual trim level is important as it will give the technician more information about the engine, transmission and anything else that may be important.
Replacing a charcoal canister is very expensive, but you can easily replace this part yourself. Take off the wheel located under your fuel tank and disconnect the vacuum lines connected to the old canister. The part should then come right off. Install the new one and connect the lines very carefully before installing the wheel again.
If you take your car to an auto repair shop to get one thing fixed and they tell you that other repairs are needed, thank them for the information and decline the additional services. Go to several other places and get quotes before allowing them to do any more work on your car.
Whenever you are working on your car’s electrical system, you should make certain the battery is disconnected. Failing to do so could cause you to receive an electrical shock. If you aren’t certain whether or not the area you intend to work on has electrical components, play it save and disconnect your battery.
Prior to leaving your car for a diagnosis, ask the repair shop about any fees associated with it. The auto repair shop absolutely has the right to charge a diagnosis fee, in fact it’s pretty standard. Though, if it seems out of line with other prices in your area, you may want to go to another shop.
One of the best ways to save money is by being informed about car maintenance and repairs. Some mechanics take advantage of those with little car knowledge. Use the advice you learned here to either do the repairs yourself or be better armed against shady mechanics. You can save thousands over a lifetime.