Owning a car gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want. However, owning a car also means that you have to keep your vehicle in good working order. By learning some of the basics of auto repair, you can make sure that your car is always running smoothly.
Do not take your car to the first mechanic you find. You need to do some research to find a reliable mechanic with fair prices. Ask your friends and family about the mechanics they have been to in the past and check the Internet to find reviews written by other customers.
Always ask lots of questions when you take your car to get repaired. Don’t let the mechanic intimidate you. Ask why something needs to be fixed or how it will be done. If the mechanic tries to brush you off, doesn’t look at you, or refuses to answer your questions, consider taking your car to someone else.
When performing your own car repairs, make sure you budget enough time to get the job done. It’s easy to underestimate how long a repair job will take. You may encounter difficult to remove bolts or nuts, or find out a part is harder to remove than you anticipated. Giving yourself enough time to complete the repair safely will make the job much less stressful.
In addition to basic tire changing equipment, keep a plastic tote filled with DIY auto repair supplies in the trunk of your car in case of emergencies. Fill it with at least a quart each of motor oil, transmission fluid, steering fluid, and brake fluid and a gallon of water. Add a can of penetrating oil spray, a roll of duct tape, twine, bungee cords and basic tools so that you can manage minor repairs on the road.
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.
Rotate your car tires every 6,000 miles or at every other oil change. Rotating your tires on a set schedule helps ensure that they wear evenly, and thus last longer. Your car will also be easier to drive, as unbalanced tires can lead to the car pulling to one side or the other.
Watch for warning signs with a mechanic. There are a few signs to look for when you speak with them about your car. If they try talking really fast about the necessary repairs, can’t look you in the eye when talking to you, or try to brush you off, you should find another mechanic. They may be hiding something or they may only care about the money.
Have a repair shop in mind before you run into trouble. If you wait until an emergency, you may end up going with a shady mechanic who is convenient because you are desperate. Ask friends for a mechanic with a good reputation. Then when you run into repair problems, you can trust you won’t be ripped off.
Never leave valuables in your vehicle when you bring it to be repaired. It is true that most shops have very trust worthy employees, but not all do, and you do not want to be a victim of theft. Instead, protect yourself by cleaning your vehicle and removing anything that is not attached to the car.
There are some shady mechanics out there, and they will resort to extreme lows to get your money. If a mechanic tells you that your axle boot is torn, ask to see it. A legitimate tear will be jagged and greasy. If it is a straight cut, let them know that you know they did the damage and you will contact a lawyer if they don’t fix it for free.
Auto repair does not have to be as mysterious a subject as many mechanics make it sound. Once you understand some of the basics, you can make your own repairs at home without the inconvenience of taking your car into the shop. Use the tips you have just read to keep your car in good condition.