Holiday travel can be a bust if your vehicle breaks down on the way to visiting friends and family.
With today’s busy schedules and high-tech vehicles, most drivers are left with neither the time nor inclination for an afternoon of tinkering on their car. But motorists can still do their part.
According to the experts at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), good communication between the repair shop and the customer can help ensure satisfactory service.
ASE offers the following tips to help make the repair process go smoothly.
* Do your homework before taking your vehicle in. Read the owner’s manual to learn about the vehicle’s systems and components. Follow the recommended service schedules and keep a log of all repairs and service.
* Don’t ignore your vehicle’s warning signals. There may be explicit dashboard messages or subtle changes in performance. Make a note of any problems – and under what conditions they occur.
* Inspect your car frequently. Check for unusual sounds, odors, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights and gauge readings. See if you notice changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage or fluid levels. Also, check for worn tires, belts or hoses, and problems in handling, braking and steering or vibrations.
* Communicate your findings. Be prepared to describe your car’s symptoms. Carry a written list of those symptoms to give to the technician or service consultant. Do not suggest a specific course of repair; let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy.
* Stay involved. Do not be embarrassed to request simple definitions. Professionally run repair establishments recognize the importance of two-way communication in automotive repairs. However, don’t rush the technician to make an on-the-spot
* Leave a telephone number where you can be reached. Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, course of action and costs before work begins. Before you leave the shop, be sure you understand all shop policies regarding estimates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.
ASE is dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign.