When you think about it, you know your car better than anyone else. You drive it every day and know how it feels and sounds when everything is right. So don't ignore its warning signals. If something doesn’t feel quite right, get your car checked out.
The following tips should help you along the way:
Follow the recommended service schedules.
Keep a log of all repairs and service.
Check your car for:
• unusual sounds
• warning lights
• changes in acceleration
• changes in engine performance
• changes in gas mileage
• changes in fluid levels
• worn tires, belts, hoses.
• difficulty in handling, braking, steering
• unusual vibrations
When there is a problem…
• Write the information/symptoms down to give to your repairman.
• When did the problem first start?
• Exactly when does the problem occur?
• Is it constant or does it occur now and again?
• Does the problem happen when the vehicle is cold or after the engine has warmed up?
• Is the problem noticeable when you accelerate? When you brake?
• At all speeds? When shifting?
Remember to let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy, even if you think you already know what the problem is. Plus, it’s important not to demand an on-the-spot diagnosis. The technician needs to thoroughly examine the vehicle before knowing what’s really going on.
Stay involved. And don’t be shy about asking as many questions as you need to understand the problem. Mechanical terminology can be confusing to the layperson.
Ask for simple definitions of technical terms you’re not familiar with.
It’s hard to be patient, as most of us feel completely incapacitated without our vehicles. Make sure you ask to be called and informed of the problem, recommended action, and costs BEFORE work begins.
Before you leave, ask about labor rates, guarantees, and what methods of payment are acceptable.
Leave a telephone number where you can be called.
The information you share with your auto technician will enable him to more easily locate the problem, diagnose it, and repair any damage. Then you and your car will be on the road again!