Before you hand over your car to the shop, be sure you are clear about the repair costs. If you do not understand something, have it cleared up with the mechanic before he or she makes the repairs. You don’t want to be surprised with a higher charge than you were expecting.
Ask your friends and family for advice on a trust worthy auto body shop. It can be very hard to find a shop that will not rip you off or produce poor quality work. Asking for advice can save you from a lot of wasted money and time trying to do it on your own.
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.
Independent garages and mechanics are usually much cheaper than dealerships. You might get a discount at your dealership if you purchased your car recently but do not make a habit of going to your dealership if you find their prices too expensive. Find out about local independent garages with a good reputation instead.
Ask for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. OEM parts are parts that are made by the manufacturer. Generic parts may be cheaper, but the quality may not be the same as OEM parts. What may seem like a deal now can cost twice as much as buying OEM in the first place.
If your car’s electrical system is behaving strangely, try cleaning the ground cables. Auto makers use the metal body of a vehicle to act as a “ground” for the electrical system. Over time the area where this cable connects to the frame can corrode, causing a stray electrical current that can wreak havoc on your system. This cable is usually connected on the firewall or fender, so simply disconnect it and use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean the contacts.
Repairs like burned out taillights or headlights can be fixed on your own. Some vehicles have a simpler system than others, but you can save a lot by doing it yourself regardless of how complex your system is. Ask someone you know if they can instruct you on how to do it.
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.
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.
Keep your auto repair shops business card in your car at all times. You never know when something could go wrong with your vehicle. You’ll want your favorite auto shop’s phone number handy, though, when it does. Another option is to program all of their contact information in your phone.