All posts tagged auto repair

Top 8 Things to Know Before You Hire an Auto Mechanic

Auto mechanic is that one person who can provide you a peaceful driving experience at an affordable cost. There are some roadside auto mechanical shops available, that provide you cheap car services, and they always try to force you to install the duplicate spare parts in your car.

However, if you rely on them and avail their services then you need to spend a huge cost later your car servicing. These mechanics are not professional and they are not certified in this field. They will damage your car and break the insurance rules. In this regards you need to check few criteria before hiring an auto mechanic.

 8 things to know about an auto mechanic:

  1. Certification:
    When you hire the auto mechanics, you need to check their certification. They must be certified by some reputed automobile schools and they should have the valid license for this work. You can also check their license validation from the authority website and then you need to ask them about their experience.
  2. Experience:
    Experience plays a vital role for the automobile industry because more than the academic and theoretical expertise, experience and practical knowledge are necessary to identify the car’s problems to provide possible solutions. Therefore, in this regards, you need to check their experience and you can also check their customer feedback from their website or other genuine references.
  3. Recommendations:
    Finding a perfect and professional auto mechanic is not an easy task and in this aspect, you can contact with your friends and family members. Those who have their own car can help you and they can provide you the contact details of some reputed automobile service center.
  4. Estimate:
    It is suggested to ask to the auto mechanic for a written estimate for the repairing and servicing of your car. Most mechanics provide the written estimate free of cost, and they charge you the accurate amount as per their given estimate most of the times. However, if your mechanic does not provide you the written estimate, then height hike the price after or during servicing and it is recommended to avoid these types of fake mechanics.
  5. Insurance and guidelines:
    Professional mechanics always describe the problems and explain the reason behind the problems to you. Apart from that, some of them also help you to claim the insurance. In this regards, you need to ask them about the insurance norms and they must follow the manufacturer guidelines too.
  6. Genuine spare parts:
    Authorized and trained auto mechanic always incorporate genuine spare parts and they do not install the duplicate spare parts in your car. If the mechanics suggest you to install the duplicate spare parts at a cheap rate then disapprove them, because duplicate spare parts can damage your car permanently.
  7. Affordability:
    Professional and trained auto mechanic always provide your affordable rate for servicing. However, these mechanics are educated and they work very hard for your car. Therefore, they may be slightly expensive for your pocket. But, for sure you can bargain with them and chances are you can avail their discounted price range during their offers which go on all throughout the year.
  8. Warranties:
    Some auto mechanics provide you warranty on their work and if you face the same problems within their warranty period, then they will provide you free service. For this warranty, they may charge you few amount extra.

Car is an integral part of your life and you cannot lead a comfortable life without your car. So, when you hire the mechanic, you can ask them for the rental car service for the servicing period and they can help you in this regards.

Car Repairs: How Not to Get Ripped Off

Finding a good mechanic isn’t exactly a walk in the park, and even if you think you found on whom you can trust, they may not be so trusting after all. 

To avoid being ripped off in the future, here are six things to look out for to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to:

#1 Ask For an Estimate

No mechanic shop can give you an accurate estimate over the phone; however, they can give a rough estimate.  If a shop offers an exact estimate, it can backfire because even though you may think you know what’s wrong, there may be other things wrong with your car.  Plus, they may entice you to come in by saying they can do it for X, when in reality, they will charge three times the amount.  A good mechanic will always want to give an estimate in person unless you know exactly what you want such as an oil change or new tires.

#2 Get a Solid Estimate in Writing

Before the car repair shop gets to work on your vehicle, ask them to give you a solid estimate on all the work that’s going to be done. You want to know exactly how much the end job will cost. Allowing a mechanic to get to work on your vehicle without giving you a solid estimate beforehand is a recipe for disaster, and if a mechanic doesn’t automatically do that, chances are they’re not honest and may charge you a lot more than you think.

#3 Talk With Other Customers

When you pull up to the shop, there’s a good chance there are going to be other customers waiting for their vehicle. If you get a chance, ask some of these customers if this is their first time coming to the shop. If not, that’s a good sign; it means they like the work that’s being done.  It also gives you a chance to see who they may have used in the past.  It’s always great to talk with other customers to see why they go there.  Don’t just talk with the customers in the shop, either.  Talk with friends, neighbors and family to see who they use as well.

#4 Search for Reviews

While not all reviews reflect the quality of a mechanic shop’s service, they’re still worth looking at. If the mechanic has good reviews, then perhaps their services are what these reviews say they are. However, you shouldn’t stop there and assume that they’re honest.  Again, while you should take these reviews with a grain of salt, see why people like them and why people don’t like them.

#5 Settle for the Best Deal

Try to get the best deal possible, and never settle for the first estimate you receive. Make sure that no work is performed unless you specifically give permission. If you feel that the cost for parts are too high, it may be possible for you to obtain those parts yourself if you would like, and then simply pay the mechanic for labor.  However, keep in mind some mechanics won’t install parts you bring in, so be sure to ask ahead of time before you invest your money in parts.  If they do allow you to purchase parts, then it may be better to shop yourself to see if you can save.

#6 Pay Close Attention to the Shop

When inspecting a shop, there are a few things you will want to pay close attention to.  How clean is the shop?  A clean shop means the mechanics care for your space and it’s safe to say they will do the same for your car.  How knowledgeable is the staff?  The minute you walk into the shop, you should be greeted with someone who knows what they are talking about.  If they are hymning and hawing, then this could be a red flag.  Lastly, talk to the mechanics.  How old are they?  Are they knowledgeable?  A good mechanic will have been with the shop for quite some time and will be able to answer any question you have.

Doing your due diligence and talking with at least three to five shops will save you a lot of headaches.  Be sure to apply some of these tips mentioned above to ensure you’re paying the fairest price possible.

This was a guest post written by Stephanie Lynch, a freelance writer who resides in Gilbert, Arizona.  She is the co-founder of Howmuchisit.org, a cost-helping database.

Automotive Technology: Working with the Roadsters of the Future

For many people, their passion is cars. Automobiles are also currently going under an exciting engineering transformation and have been since they were first invented by Henry Ford in the early 1900s. With things like electric powered vehicles and self-driving cars, the automobiles of the future are certain to be much more advanced than what we are driving on the road today. If you want to get in on a career working on the roadsters of the future, below are some tips that can help.

1. Get the Right Degree

There are a lot of automotive degrees you can obtain at technical schools that can certainly get you a steady job working as an auto mechanic. However, if you want to actually design the next generation of cars, you’re going to need to aim a bit higher with your academic aspirations. You’re going to need a good engineering degree.

While becoming an engineer does indeed require a lot of hard work and dedication, you can certainly fit it into your schedule. Obtaining an online masters in engineering management, for example, can be done at home at your own pace.

2. Build Your Own Car

Cars are some of the most complex machines to work on and put together. There are a lot of variables that you have to put together when you are assembling a car. While the fundamentals are still the same, the make and model of the car you are trying to build will have an impact on how everything goes together. It also can vary with any technological upgrades that you would like to make. While education is certainly important, certain kinds of knowledge can only be obtained on your own with your own two hands. If you want to design cars, let alone technologically advanced ones, you’re going to need to understand everything that goes into an automobile from the engine pistons, to the carburetor to the electrical system.

Build your own car from a kit or restore an old piece of rusted junk for sale somewhere. This kind of learning experience is invaluable and will provide you with plenty of practical knowledge you can’t learn in a classroom as there is just some things experience can teach you that classroom education can not.

3. Study Computers

However, to work on the roadsters of the future, you’re going to need to have knowledge beyond how today’s cars are engineered and designed. You’re also going to need expert knowledge of how computer systems operate.

As automobile tech evolves, a car’s computer system will become increasingly advanced. Self-driving cars, for example, require a computer system that can read multiple sensors, link up with GPS navigation and make thousands of decisions per second. To design such a car, you’re going to also need to be an information technology expert.

The automobile industry is currently going through an exciting transition. Things that previously only existed in the realm of science fiction will soon become reality for the next generation of cars. If you want to become part of this technological revolution, you’re going to need the right technical knowledge and skill.

5 Tips to Help You Make Your Old Car New Again

Is your old vehicle starting to feel a tad bit outdated? Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have to shell out thousands of dollars for a new vehicle. There is no need to toss your old vehicle to the side if it is still in relatively good mechanical condition. Here are five tips to make your old car new again. The upgrades that we’ll be talking about will not only make your drives are more leisurely, but safer as well. 

Clean the headlights

A set of faded headlights can ruin the entire curb appeal of a vehicle. Although you could purchase a brand new set of headlights, the most cost-efficient approach would be to clean them yourself. With a tube of basic toothpaste and a few soft rags, you can remove virtually all of the oxidation from the headlights. Not only will this increase the aesthetics of your car, but it will also make driving at night much more safe based on increased visibility. 

Update the electronics

Technology is advancing faster than ever before. If your vehicle is more than five years old, the electronic features are probably already outdated. With a budget of around $500, you can install a high-end car stereo and navigation system. Not only will your daily commute be more pleasurable, but the cockpit will also look so much more modern and sophisticated. There are systems out there now that can sync up with your smart phone, ipods etc.. Some of these can obviously get a little more pricey, but will definitely make your drives more fun and entertaining.

Install new shock absorbers

The suspension system is one of the most neglected components on a vehicle. After taking abuse for thousands of miles, the wear and tear eventually begins to take its toll on the shock absorbers. You can easily find a quality set of replacement shocks for less than 300 bucks. If you really want your car to deliver a more inspiring on-road performance, you can opt to install a sports-tuned suspension system. With suspension systems, whether they’re after market or stock, it would be good to consult with a professional before replacing or upgrading.

Upgrade the Wheels & Tires

The combination of a good set of high-performance tires and sporty wheels will make your vehicle handle better than it ever did from the factory. The key is to find a set of wheels that enhance the exterior style of your vehicle without compromising the ride quality. Although chrome rims may look tempting, their extra weight can have a negative impact on the driving dynamics of your vehicle. Make sure that you consult a professional about your wheel and tire choice before purchasing though. Getting the wrong size, make or model, could cause problems in transmissions, differentials etc..

Replace worn engine components

Far too many car owners do not pay attention to their vehicle‘s scheduled maintenance. Your car’s performance could be suffering greatly due a set of worn spark plugs or clogged fuel injectors. Depending on the type of part, there are places that will actually provide lifetime warranties to the customers. Make sure to do some research online on those warranties, to make sure that you make the best decision when replacing parts. Doing this will also increase your fuel efficiency, and save you money in the long run when you’re filling up at the pump!

Do not waste your hard-earned cash on the purchase of a new vehicle. Your old ride is just a diamond in the rough that is waiting to be revamped.

Chaleigh is a freelance writer that lives in NYC. She enjoys writing and lifestyle photography. She writes about anything from getting cheap car parts from DCP Online so that your car restoration isn’t too costly. Other topics include: paving your driveway, or how to properly fix your slice in golf. In her spare time she likes to take pictures, snowboard, golf, and play ice hockey.

Shop Talk – 5 Tips for When You are Fixing Your Vehicle

Are you pretty handy in the garage? Fixing your own vehicle is the number one way to reduce the cost of automobile ownership. If you have the means to go about this project you should consider doing it right. Shop labor is expensive, while your own labor is as free as your time. If you have the ability and means to repair your own vehicle here are five suggestions to consider as you undertake this feat.

Safety First

Before you get to work, make sure you have the equipment for a safe repair. If you’re working under the car, you need to keep the car from rolling. You can buy blocks made for this, or use large pieces of wood. Next, if the car needs to be jacked up, use jack stands—don’t trust a hydraulic jack to hold a car while you’re under it. Finally, if you’ll be working with solvents or other chemicals, make sure your work area is well ventilated. Working on a car can be very dangerous and should be done with care.

Buy a Repair Manual

Although you may have done hundreds of car repairs, it’s always a good idea to buy either the service manual for your car or one of the reputable third-party manuals. With a manual, you can read through the repair process before starting and prepare for more complicated procedures. Many repairs are similar between vehicles, but they’re not exactly the same and so buying the manual can make a huge difference.

Stay Organized

Have a few plastic containers around to hold the bolts, nuts and other small parts you collect when repairing your vehicle. You can even buy magnetic trays to hold metal parts so you won’t lose them if a container is knocked over. Pull all the tools you’ll need out of your toolbox before you start, you might lose your concentration and make a mistake if you stop in the middle of a repair to locate a specific tool.

Don’t Take Shortcuts and Use the Correct Tools

Taking shortcuts can damage parts on your car, even you can even hurt yourself. If a repair procedure says you need to remove a part a certain way, follow it. If you try to force parts out you can damage them or other parts of the car. If you don’t have the specialized tool for a certain repair, check the local auto parts stores—they’ll often lend or rent you the right tool for the job.

Know When to Take the Repair to a Professional

If you have a well-stocked garage full of tools, a manual and mechanical aptitude you can repair many things on your car. But, if you’re not confident about a certain repair, take it to a professional. They have diagnostic equipment and can even purchase parts online from older vehicles like some Subaru SVX parts for a cheaper alternative to buying brand new parts.

With these tips in mind you can be sure to save some money and feel a sense of satisfaction after managing the repairs by yourself. If done correctly, this method can be a great hobby and passion as it is for many people.