As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, 77% of cars are in need of maintenance or repairs, according to one recent survey. Some of these might be big, expensive repairs such as engine and transmission fixes (the two most expensive repairs in the U.S.), while others might be simple adjustments costing under $50. Regardless, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth out of a repair:
- Be Honest With Your Technician
When taking a car to an auto repair shop, many owners have the same unfortunate urge that prompts us to tell our dentists we’ve been flossing twice a day and our doctors we’ve been going to the gym more. If you know you have some bad driving or car care habits, it’s best to simply own up to them. It’s better to admit them and deal with a little shame than risk throwing off your tech’s diagnosis and wasting money with unnecessary tests and procedures — auto repair costs are high enough without a wild goose chase.
- Use the Right Parts
Say you own a Camry, and its water pump fails. You might be able to save $50 on the repair by using generic instead of brand-name Toyota repair parts. But generally, it’s worth the extra investment to use original manufacturer equipment. The most common exception would be if you’re looking at superior aftermarket parts that actually upgrade performance, and there may also be a few times when your technician recommends an off-brand replacement that’s just as good as the original.But the bottom line is this: When your Toyota repair shop technician says he or she would rather use Toyota repair parts, cough up a little extra and use the Toyota repair parts (and that goes for parts from any given automaker). Most shops won’t make any extra profit based on the parts, so there’s no reason for them to upsell you in this case.
- Keep Up on Maintenance
Once you’ve put the investment of a good repair job into your car, you should feel an even greater incentive to keep up on preventive care. Take advantage of your time in the shop to ask the techs about any particular weaknesses of your car (either the model in general or your specific vehicle) and give those aspects a little extra attention. A good car can last for many years if properly cared for, so it’s worth spending a little up front.
Of course, you should also use a trusted auto shop in order to make sure you’re getting high-quality repairs at fair prices.
Did you know that there are over 700,000 auto mechanics in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? Share your tips for finding the best auto repair prices and services in the comments.