The All-Encompassing Field of Vehicle Repair
This rather broad term can literally be defined as any service performed upon a vehicle with the intention of correcting a problem or enhancing its capabilities. Exterior work can include any tasks intended to either fix a problem (such as in the case of body work that may need to be performed after an accident) or physical upgrades on tires, external exhaust systems or paint jobs. Internal repairs can encompass any issues related to the engine or other components not readily accessible to the average person. A third and final section involves the car's suspension systems and will include the tires, rotors, brakes and chassis. As with the previously mentioned systems, a trained specialist will normally address this area should a major problem arise.
To briefly review, the three main domains of car repair include:
- Exterior repair or modification.
- Internal, engine-related services.
- Undercarriage work.
Top Tips to Avoid Choosing the Wrong Car Repair Service
While the definition and scope of car repair is rather obvious, what may not be as clear are the steps to be taken to help avoid choosing the wrong garage. This industry has received a somewhat exaggerated reputation of being populated by scan artists and rip-off agents, but there are nonetheless some common pitfalls that should be of concern.
Overcharging is the most frequently lodged consumer complaint. Car maintenance mechanics may bill for extra hours or instead ask for a considerable amount of money for a specific part. A good way to avoid this scenario is to obtain an itemized list of both the parts used and the hours worked. Should any doubts remain, compare the cost charged for the specific part with the list price from the manufacturer. A simple search online for 'toyota car parts' or whatever brand your car is can give you an indication of how much the car parts cost.
Be wary of salesmen in the garage. Some mechanics will inevitably recommend that spark plugs or air filters be changed upon each visit. These suggestions can often be nothing more than adding another figure to a mounting bill. For instance, city driving will only require an air filter replacement every 20,000 miles. Furthermore, most of these parts can be easily inserted without the need for a mechanic.
Similarly, there are a number of simple car repairs that you can perform yourself. By searching 'toyota car parts' or 'ford car parts' online, you will find a number of legitimate sites that sell these products cheaply. In addition, if possible search for car parts on price comparison websites, as these websites can make sure that you are getting the spare parts for the best price.
The same recommendation can be followed for brake pads. A pad should only be replaced when it has worn down to one quarter of its original width. Squeaking pads may signify nothing, as if a car has been idle for some time or of the pads have become wet, the same sound will be emitted. For this reason, it is wise to keep a clear record of the last time the pads were changed to avoid any excess hassle.
Shop around for the best rates. Most garages will provide a sign in clear public view of the hourly rates that their mechanics charge. If no such placard can be seen, simply ask for the rates and then compare these with any other local garages. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, there may be a great disparity between prices for the exact same job.
So, to avoid excess charges:
- Always ask for an itemized list of billable hours and the prices of individual parts.
- Remember that some minor repairs can be carried out at home.
- Maintain accurate records of when certain parts such as air filters or spark plugs were changed to avoid unnecessary labour.
- Monitor brake pads, their thickness and the last time they were serviced.
- Shop around at different garages.