Many drivers want to know how to find the best auto care shop, and that’s a worthy search. Knowing which of your local car repair shops you can trust will make sure your car is always safe to drive (and will save you money on auto repair costs, too). But when it comes to getting your car repaired, there’s actually a lot you can do, as well, to get faster, more accurate diagnoses and better repairs. Here are five things you should try to tell the technician every single time you bring your car into the shop:
- How It Looks, Sounds and Smells
If you’re having any problems with your car, you should try to document or describe at least three important aspects: if anything looks different, if anything sounds different and if anything smells different. The ubiquity of cell phones have even made it easy to record the first two, helping you avoid the common experience of bringing your car into the shop only for its problems to magically disappear for the hour you’re there.
- When the Problem Started
When you notice a car problem, jot down the date and a brief description, even if you think it will go away on its own. You can keep a notebook in the glove compartment for this purpose (just don’t write anything down while you’re driving, obviously).
- The Pattern in Which It Occurs
Every time the problem recurs, jot down the date, time of day, how long you’d been driving before the problem started, and the general driving conditions. This will help the technician to pinpoint what’s wrong.
- Whether You’re Up on Maintenance
The technician will probably ask you whether you’ve been keeping up on your auto maintenance. Resist the urge to make yourself look good (like telling the doctor you’ve been working our four days a week or telling the dentist you’ve been flossing twice a day) and be honest. Your pride isn’t worth the money you’ll waste if the problem is misdiagnosed based on your answer.
- If You’ve Been Tinkering
Similarly, be honest about whether you’ve been fiddling with your car on your own. Better to admit you may have messed something up than to gum up the repair process.
Have you ever thought about the fact that your habits might have a bigger impact on your car than whether you find the best auto care shop in town? Discuss in the comments.