According to the folks at Bob Tyler Toyota, there are ten things your mechanic wants to tell you. So if you're in the habit of dropping off your car off for repairs and bolting, it's time to take pause. The things you need to know are:
1. "My car died" isn't the most helpful explanation you can provide. While auto technicians are always happy to diagnose your car's problems, giving them as many details as possible is the key to an efficient repair. The more details a car owner can provide about a particular problem, the less they'll pay in diagnostic time. We encourage car owners to have answers to the following questions when they drop off their car:
When does the problem occur?
Are any dashboard lights illuminated?
Can you describe what the car is doing or not doing when the problem occurs?
Is the problem intermittent?
Are there any unusual noises, odors or vibrations when the problem occurs?
2. Leave the diagnosing to the professionals. Doing your research and going to the repair shop with all the details about your car is great, but don't be get so over informed that you distrust your mechanic. Sometimes too much knowledge is dangerous. It's especially frustrating when a customer comes in having incorrectly diagnosed a problem and orders a specific repair. He or she may be wrong, but doesn't to argue about it.
3. If you don't have an appointment, be prepared to wait.
Minor repairs or safety checks can be performed while you wait, but it's best to have a scheduled appointment. It allows the shop to prepare in advance and allows enough time to do the job properly. If you drop by unannounced, you're probably going to have to either leave the vehicle or wait while they work your repair into the day's schedule.
Can't wait to make an appointment? Avoid repair shops' two busiest times: first thing in the morning, when everyone drops their car off, and around 5 p.m., when they pick it back up.
4. Pay attention to your warning lights. They're called warning lights for a reason. Letting your car deteriorate because you don't want to take the time to handle the problem when it first appears will only make things more difficult down the road. If you get your car serviced regularly and take it to a mechanic when you see a light come on, you can prevent larger repairs later on.
5. Drivers can cause their vehicle to have problems. Thanks to the way some people drive, we often unknowingly inflict damage upon our vehicles. Stop-and-go traffic can cause overheating and flooring it as soon as the light turns green can wreck a transmission. To prevent future problems, pay attention to road conditions, slow down for speed bumps and keep clear of the curb when parking because knocking into it can really mess up your car's alignment.
6. Mechanics wish you knew more about your warranty to understand the limits of what is covered and who must do the service. Many people leave the dealership believing they can only go there for services covered by the warranty, but often "that's simply not true." A qualified repair facility can perform all manufacturer maintenance to support warranty requirements. One thing to note: Most warranties cover breakage, not wear, so if your brakes are worn out from overuse, you might not be covered.
7. Many mechanics like finishing work on your vehicle and having the cost come out lower than they estimate they gave you. An honest repair shop aims to give you the best deal possible. We shop the competition to be sure we're in the right ballpark for maintenance costs. For repair estimates we make an educated guess, but if we miss the mark and cut ourselves short, we just live with it. If it's the other way around, we love the expression on our clients' faces when we come in under estimate! And don't expect a very accurate estimate online or over the phone. Oftentimes the vehicle owner just doesn't have enough information, so an accurate estimate can't usually be given on the Internet or over the phone. Feel free to use the internet or call your shop to get a ballpark estimate for your repairs, but don't expect to nail down an exact figure until you bring in your car.
8. Doing your homework will pay off. To be sure you're seeing a trusted auto technician, look for credentials, such as Better Business Bureau ratings, ASE certification or NARPRO approval. Check out the shop you're considering on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Look for positive comments, but also note how the shop responds to negative ones. If they don't reply to social media, they may not respond to customer concerns at their counter.
9. It's best to have an exclusive relationship with your mechanic.
Once you've found a mechanic you trust, stick with him. Auto repair is very much a relationship business. Having a vehicle history with one repair shop will allow them to keep track of what work is done, and as mileage builds, they can recommend various periodic maintenance services that will keep your car running efficiently. Plus, the more familiar
your mechanic is with your car, the more likely he or she will notice when something seems off—which could prevent a major headache down the line.
10. Not every shop can accommodate your problem. Don't get frustrated if you bring your vehicle to get serviced only to be told the facility can't help you. Full-service shops like ours at Bob Tyler Toyota do exist, but it's not unusual for them to refer a specific problem to a specialist, just like doctors do. When considering a new repair shop, be sure to ask the service desk what types of repairs they typically handle so you don't show up only to be turned away.
Bob Tyler Toyota
7201 Pensacola Blvd.
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