Never go with the first estimate you receive. Although most auto shops are reliable, you don’t want to pay too much. Check out other options which are trustworthy. These shops are more likely to understand how to perform the repairs your car needs.
Avoid diagnosing your own car problems. Keep in mind that you’re not a professional. Modern cars include complex computer systems, and problems that were simple in the past are no longer so easy to fix. Allow the diagnosis to be made by a professional, when possible. Let them know what the problem is and the noises you hear, but allow them to diagnose the final issue.
Each time you get your vehicle repaired, no matter what the reason, be sure you have a record of it. If you have problems with your vehicle later on, you will find it helpful to have some records for the next technician to look at. If you do not have the records, you might end up paying more for the mechanic to poke around trying to find the source of the trouble. Understand all of the work a mechanic will be doing before agreeing to it. Get a price quote ahead of time. This price will serve as a general baseline for the true cost of repairs. Once you have an idea of what work the mechanic will do, ask that they call you if any other issues arise. Be wary of auto technicians who perform unneeded repairs on your vehicle. A good mechanic should let you know if they noticed parts that are starting to get worn down and will need to be replaced soon but they should not replace the part without your approval. Don’t return to mechanics that do unnecessary repairs.
Assemble repair tools and keep them in your car, so you are prepared at all times. You will want to have the tools necessary to change a tire, and they likely came with the vehicle. A good lug wrench and jack are key. You should also have good quality Phillips head and flat head screwdrivers, socket wrenches and a ratchet set, a torque wrench and an adjustable wrench. You don’t want to settle for buying cheap tools. Invest in quality tools that don’t break in the middle of a critical repair.
Make sure your mechanic knows how to work on your make of vehicle. There are many similarities between vehicles but some issues are specific to certain makes and models. It may be worth the extra cost to have a specialized dealer fix a major problem with your car.
Never leave anything in your car when dropping it off for repairs. The mechanic might need to move these things so they can do the job, and they won’t assume responsibility if anything comes up missing. The same is true of your trunk or the bed of your truck.