Tips On Choosing The Right Auto Repair Dealer

Should You Use an Auto Repair Shop Recommended by Your Insurance Company?

When your car has been damaged in an accident, one of the most important things you can do is find a quality auto repair shop that will make it truly roadworthy. Your insurance company may offer to relieve you of the burden of finding a reputable repair shop by giving you a list of its own preferred providers. This is a tempting offer when you’re in a hurry to get back on the highway and not eager to check out repair shops on your own.

Insurers typically tell policyholders that they have carefully checked out these businesses to make sure they do quality work at reasonable prices. Your carrier may offer to guarantee any work that is performed by shops on its preferred list.

“What you want to do is find the repair shop that does the best job,” she says. “That isn’t necessarily the one they would recommend because they’re into cutting costs. In general, it’s a good idea to pick your own place. Do your own shopping. Look at reviews and decide on your own where you want your car to go.”

attorney and founder of the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog organization, says many consumers don’t realize that state insurance regulations around the country typically allow them to choose their own repair shops following accidents.

Because insurance-affiliated repair shops depend on insurance carriers for their business, in some cases they may more concerned with how much they’re costing your insurer than how well they’re repairing your vehicle, Rosenfeld says. “You’re at a disadvantage when you’re dealing with a car repair facility whose principle allegiance is to the insurance company,” he says.

 

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN FINDING AN AUTO REPAIR SHOP

Don’t Wait Till You Need It: Try to find an auto repair shop that you trust before you’re stuck on the side of the road. Having someone who knows you and your car when you call can save both you and the shop time and get you out on the road quicker.

Take Your Car In For A Trial Run: If you are unsure an auto repair shop is right for you, try taking your vehicle in for a small thing and see how they do. This way you can make a good assessment of how you’re treated as a customer without spending too much money.

Does The Shop Have Certified Auto Mechanics: Making sure that the people working on your car are certified by the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) to work on the specific make of your car is always a good idea? Luckily our mechanics go through the ASE training and certification process.

How Long Has the Shop Been in Business: The longevity of a business is a good indicator of what kind of service you will receive. Keep in mind that if customers were unsatisfied the business would probably have folded a long time ago.

How Involved Are They in The Community: Auto repair shops are in the business of keeping return customers happy and spreading the word. A good way to do this is through positive outreach so try to see if the shop has any sort of community involvement they are participating in.

Make Sure The Shop Can Handle Your Car: It seems as though every year brings new updates to the automotive world. Sometimes it can be hard for auto shops to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the automotive world. It’s always a good idea to call ahead of time to make sure the shop can work on your car. Chances are if the place you call cannot work on your car they will refer you to someone who can.

Ask Questions: Make sure that you have questions ready when going to a mechanic or auto repair shop for the first time. It’s always good to know more about the vehicle you’re driving but this will also show them that you are taking the situation seriously.

Location & Transportation: How far away is the car repair facility from where you are? Do they offer any sort of transportation assistance while your car is in the shop? These are two great questions to ask as the shop will probably have your car for at least a day.

Only Pay For What You Authorize: Some shops will do work on your car without notifying you and then try to charge you afterward with no warning. You may owe the initial quoted cost but no shop can work on your car without your permission and they cannot hold your car as collateral.

Keeping Personnel Records: Regardless of whether or not you’re looking for a shop it is always a good idea to keep a record of when your car was last serviced and any repair it has had up until the point you bring it in. This information will help the shop assess what might be wrong and you can avoid having to pay for extra things you might not need.

 

How To Run A Successful Auto Repair & Mechanic Shop

Most people have become leery of using just any auto repair shop and prefer to stick with one they trust. Make sure you are one of those trusted auto repair shops.

Reduce Your Employee Turnover Rate

Establishing reliability and consistency is extremely important when running an auto repair shop. This is hard to accomplish when you have a high turn over rate of employees which can lead to inexperienced new workers who need to be guided into better mechanics which can take time. Reduce your employee turnover rate by treating your employees well, giving good benefits and paying them well. This will also make your customers more comfortable working with you when they see the same mechanics each time they come in for auto work. It’s hard to trust an auto shop when they have a different mechanic working on their vehicle every single time they come in.

Stand Behind Your Work With Guarantees

Make sure your customers know that you trust your own work by giving a guarantee on your repairs for certain amount of miles or time. If you repair someone’s brakes, for instance, this will show them your not doing a shoddy job, causing them to come back in a few months to have the work done again. Give them a reason to trust your work and make them more likely to come back to you in the future.

Create An Ethics Statement & Display It Prominently

Given the unease that many people have when working with an auto mechanic, create an ethics statement describing your stand on honest, trustworthy work. State that you provide reliable service and are not trying to scam anyone. Explain that you will only provide necessary repairs and service and will not try to charge them for services that they don’t need. Once you’ve created the ethics statement, display it in a prominent place in the guest waiting room where anyone can see it.

Always Reward Your Loyal Customers

Make your regulars feel appreciated by rewarding them for being loyal customers. Send them coupons for discounted work or give them a free oil change from time to time. There may be some upfront losses in revenue but will end up paying out in the long run as you start to build up a client base who will only come to you for auto repairs and refuse to go anywhere else. On top of that, those customers are also more likely to refer you to their friends and family.

 

Tips For Tackling Your First Big Car Repair

You’re a capable weekend car mechanic. You’ve got basic tools and skills. You’ve mastered oil changes and tire rotations. But when a big repair comes along, it’s decision time. Take it on yourself, or call in a pro?

That’s the choice I faced at the end of last summer, when my 1990 Mazda Miata suffered a crankshaft failure. Expecting a quick repair, I soon discovered the car needed a whole new engine—and I discovered this just after I’d disassembled it to the point that it couldn’t be put back together.

Instead of paying a mechanic to mend my Miata, I decided to try replacing the engine myself. I did it—eventually—though I made plenty of rookie mistakes on the way. Here’s what I learned.

Do Your Research

Aftermarket shop manuals are great for learning the tools and parts you’ll need, but they sometimes read like a general overview (step one: remove radiator, front bumper, and windshield washer reservoir). Internet forums can offer detailed instructions and tricks specific to your car, usually with step-by-step photos.

Set Up Your Workspace

I started my teardown in the corner of my parents’ two-car garage. I got all set to pull the engine when I discovered I had no room to maneuver my engine hoist. Even with two muscular brothers, moving a half-disassembled car was a masochist’s game of Tetris. So don’t make my mistake: Clear plenty of space before you start the job, and position your car for maximum elbow room. I found the best spot was right in the center of the garage, though not everyone in my family shared this view.

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUTO MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR?

If you’re a car owner, it’s critical to know the difference between auto maintenance and auto repair. Both of these things are important to the overall performance, but they have different functions.

Maintenance is regular service that is required for your vehicle while auto repairs are performed when your vehicle is not functioning properly. Your owner’s manual will have a list of maintenance schedules with recommendations on what needs to be done and when. The most common regular maintenance, that everyone has heard of, is oil changes. Yet that’s not the only service that’s crucial for your car’s performance.

Here’s a list of common auto maintenance needed to keep your car in tip-top shape:

Oil Change

Battery

Brakes

Tires

Power-Steering Fluid

Fuel Filter

Coolant

Engine Belts & Timing Belts

Spark Plugs

That’s quite a list! It seems like a lot of things you need to manage, but many of these services are simple procedures that your auto repair facility can complete that day or with an appointment. Many customers delay maintenance for various reasons. They may think it’s unnecessary, they may be too busy to bring their vehicle in, they may want to delay paying for auto services, or they might not realize that doing maintenance now can save money in the long run by avoiding repairs. It’s OK if you don’t know the difference between a spark plug and an oil cap – as long as you bring your vehicle to a reputable shop for regular maintenance. In a nutshell: performing regular auto maintenance helps keep your ride running smoothly and can prevent costly repairs down the road.

Maintenance is regular service that will help prolong the life of your vehicle, while auto repair is when a part or fluid is not performing and needs to be fixed.

An Inspection Will Reveal If Transmission Repair Is Necessary

SHOULD I REPLACE MY TRANSMISSION WITH A NEW ONE?

Depending on your vehicle’s age,  the type of warranty you get when purchasing a new or remanufactured one a new transmission maybe your best option. Buying a new transmission gives your vehicle a part that should last longer than a rebuilt or remanufactured one. This includes a better or longer warranty on the part’s quality.

The trade-off is the price. You will pay more for a new part. but you should be aware that many “new” transmissions come from the manufacturer as new rebuilds. Very few car makers offer a truly new transmission so when you ask for a new part as a replacement, you should ask whether it is a new transmission (with any and all relevant updates for your vehicle) or a new rebuilt.

TRANSMISSION TYPES

Rebuilt. A rebuilt transmission is one that consists of new and older parts, which may be manufactured in a factory or an auto repair shop. The rebuilt may consist of the old housing for your existing transmission and a replacement of the components that are worn, damaged, or no longer working properly.

Remanufactured. A remanufactured transmission the same as a rebuilt except for the fact that it is manufactured in a factory. Its design and construction are based on the original manufacturing requirements for the part. It may be put together using parts that have been rebuilt, reused, repaired, or any combination of the three. Remanufactured transmissions are built based on the original specifications for your vehicle. As a result, t may cost more than a rebuilt one since it does not have to adhere to the original specifications and may be modified. This is important to understand because any changes to the original specifications could cause your warranty to become void.

New transmission. A new transmission is fresh from the factory and should ideally be the same type as the original one. However, if the model is flawed, defective, or problematic it would make more sense for your mechanic to install a different but compatible, new transmission.

 

More Involved Transmission Repairs

There are other transmission repairs too that, like most shifting issues, can be remedied without too much of a headache. Reseal jobs are important if you notice blobs of red oil underneath your parked car. You want to keep your transmission sealed up properly, so a reseal might be required (Replacing accessible parts is also a common type of transmission repair that we can in relatively short order in most cases).

But there are, of course, instances, when transmission repair can take a great deal longer. For example, complete overhauls, also known as rebuilding transmissions. These jobs tend to take longer because they require that we remove the transmission from the vehicle and disassemble it. We will examine every part for wear and tear and replace those parts that need it, whether it be a torque converter or the bands and clutches.

 

What are signs of a bad transmission?

Transmission slipping: whether you have an automatic or manual transmission they both have a clutch system that will separate and engage new gears. With time this system will wear down and your transmission system will literally start to slip while changing into the next gear. Another cause of a slipping transmission is low fluid pressure which is caused by a low level of fluid, clogged filters or a bad pump. These issues will get worse over time to the point where the transmission seizes and will not engage.

Strange Smells: A transmission has its own designated fluid. It’s designed to lubricate and make sure all the gears are spinning smoothly and synchronized. After a vehicle reaches high mileage this fluid can either start to leak out or burn inside the transmission. If you see any RED fluid leaking from under your car or smell any unusual smell from under your car, then your transmission is in need of fluid service. Failure to either change the fluid may lead to blown transmission.

Transmission warning light: Most of the new cars today have sensors all over the place to make sure you don’t harm the car. Keep an eye out for any check engine lights that turn on as it could be that your transmission fluid is either running low or its burnt out causing the temperature in your transmission to rise exponentially. This will lead to it either seizing up or blowing.

Grinding or odd sounds: Automatic and manual transmission both make unique sounds when they start to go bad. On an automatic transmission, you may hear humming, whining or a buzzing sound. You’ll also feel as if every gear is wobbling into place. With a manual transmission, you will hear and feel it grind into every gear. Whether you have an auto or manual transmission.

 

How long does it take to replace a transmission?

Even the sound of it makes you shake your head with worry. How can you go days without a car? What are your options while your car is in the shop?

The good news is quite often, it doesn’t take more than a day or two to replace a transmission. Of course, it depends on the model and make of your car, and the type of transmission it is. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle that’s commonplace on the road, plan on being without your vehicle at least a day or two. If you have a front-wheel drive, the process can take longer as it’s quite labor-intensive. Estimate up to three to four days to ensure you give yourself plenty of time.

Better yet, stop by. The best way to get an estimate of how long it will take to replace a transmission is for us to see what type of vehicle you’re driving. Only then can we give you an accurate picture of how long it will take.

 

Options for Transmission Fixes

Transmission Repairs

When repairing a transmission you are replacing the bare minimum amount of parts to bring your transmission back into working order.

Often with a transmission repair, you are only fixing one specific part of the transmission. This repair can take place without having to rebuild the entire transmission. This option typically costs less than a rebuild or a replacement. However, this option is often not available as there may be too much damage done to your transmission.

Transmission Rebuilds

A transmission rebuild is where the entire transmission is taken apart and inspected.

Any worn, failed, or damaged parts are then replaced and the transmission is reassembled and replaced into your car. Transmission rebuilds are custom processes for each individual car and require a transmission specialist.

Transmission Replacements

A transmission replacement means that you are replacing your entire transmission.

Sometimes this option is called having your transmission “re-manufactured”. Often there are not brand new transmissions available on the market, so you will be purchasing a refurbished transmission.

When you replace your transmission, all of the parts of your transmission are replaced not just the parts that have failed or worn out. This is an option for transmissions that cannot be rebuilt because they are too damaged.

Transmission replacements are done in a controlled, factory setting. When you replace your transmission your transmission will be updated to the pre-built factory settings. This is often the most expensive transmission fix.