To Get Better Automotive Service
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 models of years
But when it comes to repairs, some things stay the same. Whatever
type of repair facility you patronize - dealership, service station, independent garage,
specialty shop, or a national franchise - good communications between customer and shop is
vital. The following tips should help you along the way:
Do your homework before taking your vehicle in for repairs or
service. Today's technician must understand thousands of pages of technical text.
Fortunately, your required reading is much less.
- Read the owner's manual to learn about the vehicle's systems and
- Follow the recommended service schedules. Keep a log of all repairs
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. Use all of your senses to inspect your car frequently. Check
- Unusual sounds, odors, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge
- Changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage, fluid
- Worn tires, belts, hoses.
- Problems in handling, braking, steering, vibrations.
Note when the problem occurs.
- Is it constant or periodic?
- When the vehicle is cold or after the engine has warmed up?
- At all speeds? Only under acceleration? During braking? When
- When did the problem first start?
Professionally run repair establishments have always recognized the
importance of communications in automotive repairs. Once you are at the repair
establishment, communicate your findings.
- Be prepared to describe the symptoms. (In larger shops you'll
probably speak with a service writer/service manager rather than with the technician
- Carry a written list of the symptoms that you can give to the
technician or service manager.
- Resist the temptation to suggest a specific course of repair. Just as
you would with your physician, tell where it hurts and how long it's been that way, but
let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy.
Stay involved... Ask questions.
- Ask as many questions, as you need. Do not be embarrassed to request
- 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 costs
before work begins.
- Before you leave, be sure you understand all shop policies regarding
labor rates, guarantees, and acceptable methods of payment.
- Leave a telephone number where you can be called. Don't Leave It To