Today's cars, light trucks and sport utility vehicles are high-tech marvels with digital dashboards, oxygen sensors, electronic computers, unibody construction and more. They run better, longer and more efficiently than the models of years past.
But when it comes to repairs, some things stay the same. Whatever type of repair facility you patronize—good communications between the customer and the shop is vital.
The following tips should help you along the way:
- Do your homework before taking your vehicle in for service or repairs.
- Read the owner's manual to learn about the vehicle's systems and components
- Follow the recommended service schedules.
- Keep a log of all repairs and service.
When you think about it, you know your car better than anyone else. You drive it everyday and know how it feels and when everything is right. So don't ignore its warning signals. Use all your senses to inspect your car frequently.
- Unusual sounds, odors, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights and gauge readings.
- Changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage and fluid levels
- Problems in handling, braking, steering or vibrations
Make a mental note of when problems occur:
- Is it constant or periodic?
- When the engine is cold or after the engine is warmed up?
- All Speeds? only under acceleration? During braking or when shifting?
- When did the problem begin?
Once you are at the repair establishment, communicate your findings. Be prepared to describe the symptoms. Resist the temptation to suggest a specific course of repair—just as you would with your physician. Describe where it hurts and how long its been that way, but let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy.
Stay involved. Ask questions. Don't be embarrassed to request explanations in layman's terms. Don't rush the service writer or technician to make an on-the-spot diagnosis. Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, course of action and cost before work begins. And last but not least, leave a telephone number where you can be called at a moment's notice.