Tips for Choosing a Reputable Care Care Center
Tip #1: Do your homework before taking your vehicle in for service…
- Start shopping for a repair shop before you need one. Better decisions are made when you are not rushed.
- Ask friends and family for their recommendations. Old-fashioned word-of-mouth is still valuable information.
- Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles equal in value to your own in the parking lot, and modern equipment in the service bays.
- Read your owner’s manual and follow the recommended maintenance schedule.
- Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas, advanced training certificates, and ASE certification.
Tip #2: Once you choose your repair shop…
- Start off with a minor job. If you are pleased, return with more complicated repairs later.
- Be prepared to describe the symptoms and supply a written list of recent problems.
- Mention unusual sounds, odors, changes in acceleration, engine performance, & problems in handling, braking, steering, & vibrations.
Tip #3: Stay Involved… Ask Questions…
- Ask as many questions as you need. Request an explanation in simple terms and definitions.
- Don’t rush the service writer or technician to make an on-the-spot diagnosis. Ask to be called and informed of the problem, course of action, and costs before the work begins.
- Before you leave, be sure you understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees, and methods of payment.
- Leave a telephone number where you can be reached.
Tip #4: Follow up…
- Keep good records; keep all paperwork
- Reward good service with repeat business. It is mutually beneficially to you and the shop owner to establish a relationship.
- If the service was not all you expected, don’t rush to another shop. Discuss the problem with the service manager or owner. Give the business a chance to resolve the problem. Reputable shops value customer feedback and will make a sincere effort to keep your business.
Getting your Vehicle Ready for Summer
Summer’s heat, dust and stop and go traffic will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodical maintenance… Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price too! Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.
- Air Conditioning… A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician.
- Cooling system… The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
- Oil… Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual–more often if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage or tow a trailer.
- Engine Performance… Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended–more often in dusty conditions. Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough iding, stalling, diminished power, etc) corrected at a good shop.
- Windshield Wipers… A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
- Tires… Have you rotated your tires about every 5,000 miles? Check tire pressure once a month, but let the tires “cool down” first. Don’t forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, eneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there’s uneven tread wear of if your vehicle pulls to one side.
- Brakes… Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
- Battery… Batteries can fail any time of the year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections.
- Lights… Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses.
- Emergencies… Carry some basic tools–ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares and a flashlight.