When you need your car fixed, you usually need it done as soon as you can. That’s why it’s important for you to not only know what needs to be done, but how you will get it repaired. Whether you will do the repairs or plan to take it to a mechanic, here are some smart auto repair tips.

Independent garages and mechanics are usually much cheaper than dealerships. You might get a discount at your dealership if you purchased your car recently but do not make a habit of going to your dealership if you find their prices too expensive. Find out about local independent garages with a good reputation instead.

Make sure you get a signed copy of the estimate for the repairs. You also need to make sure that the contract contains a clause that the shop must contact you before exceeding the total on the estimate. This will protect you from getting a surprise bill once work is completed.

It is a good idea to add an injector cleaner to the fuel you put into your gas tank regularly. You will get better gas mileage if the fuel injectors in your cars engine are kept clean. Adding enough cleaner to treat a full tank once a month is usually enough to improve your mileage a little.

If you need to fix a scratch or paint over an area, make sure you select the right color. Check the owner’s manual to see if you can find a code for the color of your car or look for a sticker located under the hood or on the driver’s side front door to find the color code.

Know the basics. If you have to take your car into the shop, be prepared to let them know what the make and model of your car is. Also, the actual trim level is important as it will give the technician more information about the engine, transmission and anything else that may be important.

Have a repair shop in mind before you run into trouble. If you wait until an emergency, you may end up going with a shady mechanic who is convenient because you are desperate. Ask friends for a mechanic with a good reputation. Then when you run into repair problems, you can trust you won’t be ripped off.

Avoid rebuilt parts if possible. These parts are usually more affordable than new ones but you have no way of knowing how reliable the repairs are. Rebuilt parts have usually been into an accident or stopped working at some point and were salvaged and rebuilt. It is best to invest in newer part that have never been damaged in the past.

Check a variety of sources of information before attempting an auto repair for the first time. Do a good online search, watch instructional videos and seek out books at your local library and take time to talk with an experienced mechanic before you dive in to try that repair. Once you feel comfortable with the concept, make a list of the things you need and the steps you will need to take to make the repair successfully.

Do not worry if you find a puddle of water under your car. Puddles are usually caused by condensation from your air conditioning system. You should worry if you have not been using your air conditioning system or if you find puddles of water under your car on a regular basis.

Do not fall prey to the notion that you have to get a tune-up at any specific time. Every car is different, and the manufacturer will indicate when you should bring the vehicle in to the shop. By following that schedule, your car is much more likely to run well.

When you take your car to an auto repair shop, try to have a good description of the problem. Just telling the mechanic the car is screwed up won’t help him or her to solve the problem. Provide details. You should know how long the problem has existed and when it occurs. Note whether or not dashboard warning lights are illuminated. Describe any sounds, smells or vibrations that accompany the problem.

Always get your timing belt repaired at the proper time, according to your tune-up schedule. A timing belt going out can cause major engine damage, leading to much bigger repairs. Those repairs can run into the thousands of dollars, so don’t ignore that timing belt – you may be sorry if you do!

Always inquire about the qualifications and experience of the technician who will be repairing your car. You want to know if they have experience working on your make and model of car. You also want to know if your mechanic has any special qualifications, like A.S.E. certification, that demonstrate their competence.

If you have to drop your car off at a garage or dealership, instruct the mechanics that you wish to be called with an estimate before they do any work on your car. Do not let a mechanic convince you to pay for expensive repairs because the vehicle is already partly dismantled.

For simple things, such as adding oil and windshield wiper fluid to your vehicle, there is no reason that you cannot do these things on your own. You do not need to waste money on a professional for these jobs. Know what you are doing first, but then do not hesitate to get your hands greasy.

Ask your mechanic if he is willing to use re-manufactured or salvaged parts. Using these parts can save you hundreds of dollars and is good for the environment as well. If he is unwilling to use them you may want to find someone else to work on your vehicle, as there really is no reason not to.

With these tips, you should feel more comfortable about fixing your car. You should know have some ideas that can help you to get your automobile repaired quickly, so that you can go on with your life. Don’t wait until you have a problem with your car; keep this information on hand so you have somewhere to start.

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