Working With An Auto Mechanic

The Dos and Don’ts of Working with an Auto Mechanic

Delaying your vehicle service and repairs can lead to safety hazards and more expensive repairs. It is advisable to work with an auto mechanic who can be your partner in the regular care and maintenance of your vehicle. It is always best to identify a car technician before your car breakdowns and have them on standby, rather than choosing when you are panicked and in a rush. The following are some of the important things to know when working with a car mechanic.

Good communication is key

You need to let your mechanic know what is wrong with your vehicle in a way that makes it easier for them to diagnose and repair the problem. You may want to note down a few things you have noted about the vehicle before heading to the service shop just so you do not forget. You can also use special terms to help describe the problem that the mechanic can identify with such as hesitation, a brief loss of power when you accelerate or knocking, a rattling sound out of your engine when accelerating etc.

Be realistic

Customer expectations when dropping off the car at the service shop is perfect repairs within the shortest time possible. If you want to have the best service from the auto mechanic, it is important to remember that there may be other vehicles in line for repairs. If you rush the mechanic, you are bound to get quick and cheap repairs that may not last for long. Sometime, repairing one part of the vehicle may lead to discovering problems in another part making the repairs take even longer. Ask for an average amount of time that it would take for the repairs and get a cost estimate before the mechanic starts the repairs.

De clutter your vehicle

Never drop off a dirty and cluttered vehicle at the auto mechanic’s place. A common courtesy can also affect the quality of repairs that you get. Remove any luggage from your trunk, booster seats and any dirt in your car that may affect the mechanics access to specific parts of the vehicle for repairs. Heavy items in the car may also weigh it down making the process of accurate adjustments difficult.

Make yourself available but allow the mechanic to do his job

You should leave a contact number where the mechanic can reach you in case of any challenges or unexpected repairs. In case the auto mechanic cannot reach you to approve repairs, you car will end up staying in the shop longer. With that said, you also need to allow the mechanic to do his job so avoid hovering over the professional.


Auto Repair

Choosing the Best Auto Repair Shop

When you have to deal with your work schedule and other responsibilities, your vehicle is the last thing you want acting up on you. This is why you need to be assured that your vehicle will be in great working condition or experience timely repairs in case of trouble. You need an auto repair shop that you can truly rely on for these services.

It is advisable to choose an auto repair shop even before trouble strikes because in such cases, time is of the essence. You should also read your vehicle owner’s manual to know when your vehicle needs servicing and the kind of areas to check during these maintenance sessions. You will be able to make a better choice if you are not in a rush.

Get recommendations

Getting recommendations is a good way to get leads on great repair shops in your area. Friends and colleagues who have used the service before are a great source of information on the best repair service. You also have evidence of the repair shops work and their costs based on the experience of those you ask. Word of mouth recommendations come with honest insights of the experience working with the repair shop, from customer service, quality of work and overall process.

Price is not everything

When it comes vehicle repair, keep in mind that your choice should not be based on price alone. An affordable rate does not guarantee quality service. In fact, if the price is too low, chances are the garage is not using OEM parts to repair your vehicle but rather cheaper aftermarket parts with no guarantee of quality. A very high price does not also guarantee excellent service. Check on other merits of the garage and the professionals working there.

Ask questions

Before you rely on a garage to always fix your car and deliver great service, you need to ask a couple of questions. An honest car repair shop will be open to answering questions about their credentials, experience, warranty policies, certifications held by employees and cost among other things. Asking questions upfront is a good way to get information fast.

Request an estimate

If your vehicle needs repairs, you can get and compare estimates from different repair shops. Written estimates are great for comparing what different car service shops have to offer. The estimate is also going to keep the repair shop on track during the repair without adding on unneeded services. When you describe your problem to the repair shop and they respond with a written estimate, it is also easier to tell when they have misdiagnosed the problem. If a professional is not able to diagnose the problem correctly and not offer to give an analysis before diagnosis, you should be concerned about such auto repair shops.

Proper Car Maintenance

car repair

With a sluggish economic recovery and today’s consumers watching their finances carefully, it’s no surprise that the average age of vehicles in the United States is more than 11 years old, according to automotive research firm R.L. Polk and Co. With motorists holding on to their vehicles longer than ever before, maintenance takes an even greater importance in keeping roads — and people — safe.

The cost of neglect

“It’s tempting to avoid car maintenance in tough economic times, but that’s not a financially sound method to manage the big investment you’ve made in your vehicle,” notes Tony Molla, vice president of communications for the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). “Surveys of our certified technicians show that a well-maintained vehicle lasts longer, retains more of its resale value, pollutes less, and gets better mileage than one that’s been neglected — to say nothing of being safer to operate.”

According to the pros at ASE, neglect causes components to wear out faster than they would otherwise (poorly aligned tires, for example) and can result in minor problems growing into more expensive repairs (worn brake pads will eventually damage the more expensive rotors). ASE suggests motorists, whether they are do-it-yourselfers or take their cars to ASE-certified technicians, become familiar with their owner’s manual and follow the service schedules. “The owner’s manual is under-utilized; it summarizes systems to check and provides schedules based on normal or severe driving,” notes Molla.

While some people might relish a weekend tinkering with the family car, today’s technological advances under the hood and busier lifestyles find more consumers in search of dependable, trustworthy automotive service and repair.

Finding a good mechanic

Finding a competent auto technician need not be a matter of chance. Much of the guesswork has been eliminated, thanks to a national program conducted by ASE.

ASE tests and certifies automotive professionals in all major technical areas of repair and service. With more than 360,000 currently certified professionals working in dealerships, independent shops, collision repair shops, auto parts stores, fleets, schools and colleges across the United States, ASE’s national certification program has industry-wide acceptance and recognition.

ASE certifies the technical competence of individual technicians, not the repair facilities. Before taking ASE certification tests, many technicians attend training classes or study on their own in order to brush up on their knowledge. By passing difficult, national tests, ASE-certified technicians prove their technical competence to themselves, to their employers, and to their customers.

What’s more, because this program is voluntary, ASE certification becomes a self-selecting credential. And while ASE does not certify repair shops or monitor business practices, it stands to reason that those shop owners and managers who support their employees’ efforts to become ASE-certified often will be just as proactively involved in the other aspects of their businesses as well.

How certification works

More than 40 certification tests in all areas of vehicle service and repair are offered eight months out of the year at secure computer centers. Technicians who pass at least one exam and fulfill the two-year work experience requirement earn the “ASE-certified” designation. Those who pass a battery of exams, as well as fulfill the experience requirement, earn “Master Technician” status. In addition, all ASE credentials have expiration dates. ASE requires technicians to retest every five years to demonstrate their commitment to continuing education and stay abreast of changing technologies.

The tests are developed and regularly updated by industry experts with oversight from ASE’s own in-house pros. They are administered by ACT, the same group known for its college entrance exams.

There are specialty exams covering all major areas of repair. There are nine tests for auto technicians alone: Engine Repair, Engine Performance, Light Vehicle Diesel Engines, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Brakes, Heating and Air Conditioning, Suspension and Steering, Manual Drive Train and Axles, and Automatic Transmissions. There are also exams for collision repair technicians, engine machinists, parts specialists, bus techs and others.

Finding ASE-Certified Technicians

Repair establishments with at least one ASE-certified technician are permitted to display the blue and white ASE sign. Each ASE professional is issued personalized credentials listing his or her exact area(s) of certification and an appropriate shoulder insignia or lapel pin. Technicians are also issued certificates that employers often post in the customer-service areas of their businesses. Businesses with a high level of commitment to ASE are entitled to a special “Blue Seal of Excellence” recognition from ASE.

As with other professionals, automotive technicians often specialize, so it’s wise to ask the shop owner or service manager for a technician who is certified in the appropriate area, such as brakes, engine repair, or air conditioning.