DIY Repair Guide

Prior to having any repair work performed, make inquiries about how the auto repair shop prices its repairs and mechanical work. Some auto repair shops charge a flat rate for labor. Other repair shops and car service centers may provide you with a firm estimate.

Still others, may simply charge by the hour for labor plus the cost of the parts.The rate that is made available to you should be based on an independent manufacturer's estimate of the time it would take (under normal circumstances) to complete the repairs to you car.

Other auto repair shops charge strictly on the actual time that one of their mechanics took to complete the repairs on your automobile.

However, when there is a need for expensive and/or complicated car repairs (or if you have any questions relating to repairs) it is always better to get a second opinion. By asking questions about your car and the pending repairs to it you will know in advance if there will be any additional diagnostic charges.

This is a good idea because you may wish to have the repairs performed elsewhere if you do not get the answers you are looking for. Many auto repair shops do charge for additional diagnostic time. Always insist on a written estimate of the cost of labor and parts.

Advanced Preparation

Being prepared in advance and knowing where to take your car when you have a problem is the key to getting reliable repairs and not being ripped-off! Search Google or use the yellow pages directory to shop around by phone for the best prices and deals in town. Don't forget to also compare warranty policies on the repairs.

One of the best things you can do to avoid any problems (and ending up with an unsatisfactory repair) is to ask politely to see up-to-date licenses. That is if state and/or local law requires auto repair shops to be licensed and registered. In addition, check with the state Attorney General's office and/or your local consumer protection agency. They will have "on hand" a record of any complaints regarding a particular auto repair shop. Furthermore, always make sure that the auto repair shop will honor your motor vehicle's warranty.

Choosing a Reliable & Experienced Mechanic

Always insist on seeing the auto repair shops certificates of approved registration. A reputable repair shop should openly display local and state certificates.

For example: their Automotive Service Excellence seal. By viewing the certification it will indicate that the mechanics working for the auto repair shop do meet basic standards and have knowledge and competence in specific areas of mechanical repair.

Again, always make certain that the certificates are up-to-date. But remember that certificates alone do NOT guarantee you will end-up with an excellent repair job. Another wise thing to do is find out if the mechanic (who is going to be working on your motor vehicle) has plenty of experience working on the same make and model of automobile as yours. Prior to having any repair work performed, make inquiries about how the auto repair shop prices its work. Some auto repair shops charge a flat rate for labor. The rate that is made available to you should be based on an independent manufacturer's estimate of the time it would take (under normal circumstances) to complete the repairs to your car.

Unlocking The Mystery of Auto Repair Charges

Brake System
Brake System
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Other auto repair shops charge strictly on the actual time that one of their mechanics took to complete the repairs on your automobile. However, when there is a need for expensive and/or complicated car repairs (or if you have any questions relating to repairs) it is always better to get a second opinion.

By asking questions about your car and the pending repairs to it you will know in advance if there will be any additional diagnostic charges. This is a good idea because you may wish to have the repairs performed elsewhere if you do not get the answers you are looking for. Many auto repair shops do charge for additional diagnostic time. Always insist on a written estimate of the cost of labor and parts.

Auto repair shops that only perform diagnostic work (and do not stock and sell parts or repairs) can give you an honest and objective opinion about which car repairs are truly necessary. If you do decide to go ahead and get the work done, always insist on a written estimate and guarantee. An estimate should identify the exact repairs to be done, the required labor and the parts needed. Make certain you get an authorized signed copy. It should clearly state that the auto repair shop will make contact with you for approval before any repair work is carried out which exceeds a specified dollar amount. This should include the time and money. Many States have a law in place which requires this.

Manufacturer's Recommendations

When the repairs to your car are done ask for a completed repair order that clearly describes the work that has been completed.

Make sue that it lists each repair, parts (if needed), the cost of each part, the labor charges, and the cars odometer reading when you brought your car to the repair shop as well as when the actual repair order was made out.

You should ask for all replaced parts. This is a good idea because State law may require this after the repair has been completed. You should follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule found in your car owner's manual to match your type of driving.

Some repair shops will develope their own vehicle maintenance schedules. However, you may find that it calls for more frequent servicing than the actual manufacturer's recommendations. Compare the shops maintenance schedules with those recommended in your car owner's manual. Inquire as to why the repair shop recommends vehicle servicing beyond the manufacturer's recommended schedule.

Local Consumer Protection Agencies

Tachometer
Tachometer
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You should know what warranties and service contracts apply to car repairs. There is no real "standard warranty" on automotive repairs. Make certain you fully comprehend what is actually covered under your warranty and always ask for it in writing. Be aware that vehicle warranties could be subject to a variety of limitations.

Some of these limitations are: time, mileage, deductibles, businesses which are authorized to perform actual warranty work and/or specific procedures needed to obtain reimbursement. Check with the Federal Trade Commission or your state and/or local consumer protection agencies for important information about automobile warranty rights.