The Best Service and Repair Advice You Will Ever Hear
Posted by: Dan on 24/08/2016
The Best Service and Repair Advice You’ll Ever Hear
Whenever you see a football team on a huge winning streak, you’ll hear the coach say: “It’s all about the fundamentals.”
The same is true of your car when it comes to service and repairs. With over 100,000 Australians employed in the auto industry, there are plenty of voices ready to offer all manner of advice. But rather than have you go chat with 100,000 of your closest fellow car fans, we’ve put together some foundational pieces of advice for you that have served other drivers well for decades.
By heeding this advice, you can ensure that you’ve got solid odds in place to have a drama-free driving experience, while also being able to quickly and easily deal with any repair issues as they arise.
Here are six pieces of advice you can swear by when it comes to car service and repairs.
1. Arrange an inspection
Just like you wouldn’t buy a home without first arranging an inspection, getting an inspection before you buy a car is absolutely essential. Not unlike putting on sunblock before a day at the beach or checking that your lights work before a bike ride, an inspection can be one of those things that seems secondary – until something goes wrong. Organising a proper inspection of a car before you buy it gives you comprehensive knowledge of the vehicle you’re purchasing – and minimises the risk of any surprises.
2. YouTube is your best friend
Not only do we live in an age where there are tons of articles in print and online about car repair, but there are also all sorts of free videos. In a bygone era, fixing something on your car might have required heading off to the library or bookstore to hunt down an old car manual or repair guide. Today, all you need do is visit YouTube and research your problem.
While there will come a time when you need to involve a mechanic and trust their best judgement, for minor repairs, learning as much as you can about your car (and how to fix basic problems) is a great way to save you time and money.
3. Build a good relationship with one mechanic
One of the very best ways to efficiently manage your car's service and repair is to build a strong relationship with one mechanic. While theoretically any mechanic should be able to fix a problem for you, when one mechanic has your service records and did the previous service themselves, they’ll have a better understanding of the best way to approach continuing or new issues you might be having. This also is a big help in case you don’t understand your car’s repair needs and have more questions about the process.
Building a good relationship is imperative, as it means that whenever a problem comes up, you won’t have to worry about your mechanic being unsure of what has occurred or what work needs to be done. Instead, because they regularly service your car themselves, they’ll know it inside and out (and increase the chance of a quick and affordable fix to any problem).
4. If you’re unsure, get a second opinion
A good mechanic will be proud to know a lot about cars, but a bad mechanic will pretend they know everything. So, even though it's important to build a good relationship with your main mechanic, don’t be afraid to seek out a second opinion on major work that may arise.
Worst-case scenario, you might pay a little more for peace of mind when it comes to major repairs. Best-case scenario, you may find that your second mechanic recommends another course of action that is more affordable, more efficient, or both.
5. Fix small issues before they become big ones
Just like all avalanches start with a snowball, a problem within a problem with a car often develops over time. While you can’t anticipate every issue, there are numerous steps you can take to ensure your car’s longevity and minimise your risk.
Chief among these is to make sure you’re fixing small issues before they become big ones. Whether your car is stalling at traffic lights, you hear a stutter in the engine, or you have a crack in the windshield that will surely get bigger with time, be sure to nip minor problems in the bud before they become big issues.
6. Know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em
Whether you’re talking about minor repairs, major repairs, or even your whole engine, there comes a time in every car’s life when it’s clear the end is near. A good mechanic should be upfront and direct with you about this – “Sure, I can fix it, but it's not likely to be a permanent fix” – but many motorists can be sentimental about their cars and not feel ready to send it to the junkyard.
If this sounds like you, it’s important to recognise that holding onto a car that is on its last wheel is a surefire recipe for building up expenses and costing you more money in the long-term. So while it's fine to hang onto it a little while longer as you search for a new ride, when the time comes, be ready to start anew and enjoy driving again without the constant bother of bugs and breakdowns.
A new driver may think that once they’ve bought a car, their work is done. An experienced driver, on the other hand, knows that car ownership equals car maintenance. Just like your driving skills, the more you focus on building up your knowledge of car service and repairs, the better you’ll get at handling them.
By ensuring that you get an inspection before you buy a car, making friends with a couple of mechanics, and quickly attending to issues as they arise, you’ll stand in good stead to have a car that’ll drive smoothly and safely for years to come.
What other repair tips do you regularly live by? Let us know in the comments below: