Use Car Repair Manuals To Make Your Own Repairs

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Many people like to make their own car repairs, and the first thing you need is the right car repair manual. Just doing a few simple maintenance procedures yourself can save a few hundred dollars a year, as long as the repairs are done correctly. Otherwise, it will cost significantly more to have a professional fix major problems that are likely to occur from incorrect maintenance. A car repair manual will provide all the information you will need to make sure your repairs are done right.

Car repair manuals will be specific to a car’s year, make and model. The engineers who design cars often make changes and improvements in the vehicle’s engine design from year to year, so having the correct repair manuals is critical. Comparable cars by different auto makers can still be vastly different under the hood. Even cars by the same maker can be significantly different.

Routine maintenance procedures are the most common kind of work that a do-it-yourselfer can perform. Car repair manuals generally include both written instructions and diagrams to help you find the right components that you need to replace or repair.

  • When performing an oil change, your repair manual can help you locate the oil pan, drain it and replace the old oil with new oil. Repair manuals can also help you find all the other fluid compartments to top off engine coolant, transmission fluid, windshield fluid and others.
  • Another parting of changing your oil is checking your oil and air filters and replacing them when necessary. Your repair manual can help you locate your filters and determine whether or not they need to be changed.
  • Car repair manuals can also provide instructions on replacing a dead car battery once you have determined that any problems starting your car are from a dead battery and not the alternator. Whenever you replace a battery or change your oil, make sure you dispose of the old products properly.

Making some of your own auto repairs can save you a substantial amount of money on labor charges and on marked up prices on replacement parts. The only way to make the proper repairs to any vehicle is with the right car repair manuals for whatever kind of vehicle you are working on.

Ways to Save at the Auto Shop

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Taking your vehicle into the auto shop for a repair is never a welcome activity. Not only is the process of a car repair inconvenient, it can also be expensive. However, if you are worried about the cost of your next auto bill, then you should know that there are many secrets to saving money at the auto shop. San Jose Auto Repair makes sure that every customer is valued and respected, we prioritize quality over the mindset of making profits.

Comparing Auto Shop Garages

Shop around, and you’ll find that different auto repair centers charge different prices for the same types of services. One of the best ways to ensure a low auto bill is by taking the time to check out several shops and their fees for the particular repair you need. If you are in need of a standard maintenance repair such as an oil change or brake check, then you might consider calling several auto shops in your area and asking for price quotes. However, for most repairs it is recommended that you take the vehicle in for a more thorough price estimate. By comparing written estimates, you can determine where you can go to get the most for your money.

Of course, before choosing an auto shop on price alone, you will also want to ensure the credibility of the repair center by checking for ASE certification and asking for recommendations from friends.

Use Auto Shop Coupons

Auto coupons are an easy way to get a discount price on routine services. Auto garages routinely distribute coupons as a way to drum up business and bring in new customers. Keep your eyes open for promotional offers in both your newspaper and mailbox, and you may be rewarded with significant savings.

Ask for a Discount

Sometimes, saving money on an auto repair is as easy as asking for one. After receiving a price quote or estimate, you might ask the technician if anything can be done to lower the bill. If you have been a customer of the shop for quite some time, you might be able to use this as leverage to receive a loyalty discount.

Save on Auto Bills With Aftermarket Parts

Choosing aftermarket parts over original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) components can often lead to cost savings. While OEM parts are typically recommended for most repairs, aftermarket components are cheaper and often just as effective. Ask the auto shop whether or not they use OEM parts. If possible, find out if they would be willing to use generic components if it would help lower the total cost of the repair.

Finding Quality Auto Body Repair

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Finding the right auto body repair shop can be almost as frustrating as backing into that parked car that you swear wasn’t there a second ago. But if you know what to look for in an auto body repair professional, you can ensure that your search goes smoothly. You need to know the right kind of questions to ask, and you should definitely be aware of your consumer rights.

The easiest way to find an auto body repair shop is to ask your friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations. Once you have a list, you can shop around for the best price. You should make sure that the shop you choose is registered or licensed. You may also want to find out if they will provide a loaner car while yours is in the shop, or at the very least recommend a car rental service. (Your auto insurance may cover this expense, so be sure to check with them as well.)

Before you agree to any auto body repair work, ask the shop for their labor rate and the full price of parts and supplies they expect to use. Most auto body shops will estimate the amount of time a repair will take and charge you a flat fee for labor. If the repair looks to be more complicated, then you may want to get a second opinion. In most cases, the auto body repair shop should be willing to give you a free estimate.

Once you’ve made the decision to get the work done, ask the shop for a full written estimate. This estimate should include an exact list of the damages being repaired, the parts and supplies needed, and the estimated charge for labor. Make sure that it states on the estimate that the shop will contact you and get your approval should they need to do any additional repairs.

If the shop intends to replace parts on your car, find out what type they’ll be using. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are brand new and designed specifically for your car. Rebuilt/reconditioned/remanufactured parts are previously used, but have been restored to good working condition. Salvage parts have been taken from another vehicle without any modification or repair. Salvage parts are generally the least expensive, but they usually don’t include any kind of guarantee or warranty.

The auto body repair shop you select should be well-organized and clean, with employees who are knowledgeable and able to answer any questions you might have. The technicians doing the actual body work should be well-trained and certified. If they are, then their certification will be prominently displayed.

Unless you agree to use salvage parts, the repair shop should provide a warranty on the parts and a guarantee on their labor. If the parts or labor won’t be covered for any reason, the shop should notify you before they start doing auto body repairs.

Necessary Car Maintenance Tasks

Every vehicle owner must perform car maintenance regularly to reduce repair costs and to increase both the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and resale value. For most of your vehicle’s maintenance, you should hire a professional. Getting regular tune-ups ultimately increases your vehicle’s lifespan. Additionally, there are some essential tasks that you should hire a professional for in between tune-ups.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional for Car Maintenance

If you hire a professional to perform car maintenance on your vehicle, you should have a logbook of which type of maintenance he or she performs and when. This is beneficial because it can sometimes reduce insurance premiums and, in most cases, increases resale value. Additionally, professional mechanics or technicians have the proper tools and years of experience and can complete these car maintenance tasks efficiently and effectively.

Car Maintenance Tasks

Tire Rotation and Wheel Alignment

Tire rotation and wheel alignment reduce and even the wear on your tires, which promotes straighter driving and prevents “drifting” or pulling to one side. This ultimately improves fuel efficiency. Having unevenly worn tires for extended periods can damage your vehicle, and you should have a professional rotate your tires and align your wheels regularly. Your owner’s manual specifies how often you should have a professional perform these.

Checking Fluids and Replacing Filters

It is also important to check the fluids—brake, oil, radiator, power steering, and transmission—in your vehicle at regular intervals. When you have a professional perform a tune-up on your vehicle, he or she determines whether the fluids require replacement. In addition to the fluids in your vehicle’s engine, it is essential to make sure that the fuel, oil, and air filters are all clean and operating efficiently. Performing these tasks can increase both the fuel efficiency of your vehicle and its lifespan and can prevent damage to its engine.

Battery and Spark Plugs

Check regularly to see if your vehicle’s battery needs more distilled water or if its leads are dirty or damaged. You should also hire a mechanic or technician to determine whether your vehicle’s spark plugs and their wires are operating efficiently and inspect them for damage.

Inspect Belts

Look at the belts that drive various parts of your engine. If they sag excessively or look physically damaged, you should probably take your vehicle to a professional so he or she can replace them. Having a belt shred while you are driving is incredibly damaging to your vehicle and can be very dangerous.

Car Maintenance Tasks for Fuel Efficiency

For maximum fuel efficiency, ensure that your tires have even wear, have the proper air pressure, and that the O2 sensor—if you have an electronically fuel-injected vehicle—is operating properly. You should also make sure the three filters are clean and operating at top efficiency. These filters make it easier for the engine to work, which results in more power. In addition, you should remember to use the proper motor oil. There are many different brands, versions, and weights, and choosing improperly can decrease fuel efficiency or even damage your vehicle’s engine.

Car maintenance is a series of tasks for which every vehicle owner should hire a professional. Professional technicians and mechanics employed at most auto shops have the skills and tools necessary for car maintenance tasks, so if you cannot do any of these jobs on your own vehicle, contact a professional.

Should You Try Do‐It‐Yourself Auto Repair

With as many moving parts and as many systems as a car has, there are hundreds of different repairs that may be needed over the life of your car. Some are complicated or require specialized tools and equipment. For these repairs, a trained and certified professional is probably your best option. Other issues are a little easier, people who know what they are doing can fix them at home. Here are a few tips for do-it-yourself auto repair.

Do-it-yourself auto repair starts with keeping accurate service records. Oil changes are recommended every 3000-4000 miles. If you are going to do them yourself, make sure you are doing them when they are needed. Waiting too long between oil changes can put unnecessary stress on your engine and lead to severe problems.

Another part of maintaining your own auto service records is knowing when you’ve replaced certain parts. Your vehicle owner’s manual will tell you how often to replace the oil filter and air filter. They don’t need to be replaced every time, so keep track of when you replace them. Replacing parts too often will needlessly increase your expenses and defeat the purpose of making your own auto repairs.

Another thing to keep in mind for DIY auto repair is using the right replacement parts for your vehicle. This includes getting the right oil. Most vehicles use 10W-30, but trucks may use a different oil weight. If you do a lot of stop-and-go driving in severe weather conditions, you may need a different oil weight.

Finally, a car repair manual is a must-have for DIY auto repair. A repair manual will be specific to your make, model and year. It will have instructions and diagrams to help you locate the parts you need and make the appropriate changes and replacements. If you choose to make your own auto repairs, be sure to have the right manual for your vehicle, because manufacturers can make radical changes to models in even a single year.

There is nothing wrong with taking your vehicle to a certified technician for auto repairs and maintenance, especially for major repairs. But you can also save money with do-it-yourself auto repair if you take care to do everything correctly and on time.

Auto Repair Advice for Saving Money

Seeking out quality auto repair advice is essential to maintaining the long-term health of your vehicle. Without routine servicing and repair, your car will run inefficiently and, eventually, unsafely. Of course, when that “check engine” light comes on, visions of dollar signs immediately begin to dance in your head. Learn how to save on auto repairs without skimping on the essentials with the following auto repair advice tips:

Be Aware of Hourly Labor Costs

The biggest difference in pricing at many auto repair shops is the hourly labor rate. As such, it is recommended that you inquire about hourly labor rates at several different shops prior to settling on a particular place to take your repair. Typically, labor rates should be listed along with parts costs in a written estimate. If the hourly rate is not specifically itemized, ask the shop to clarify their labor rates.

In general, dealerships pay higher labor rates, so more affordable repairs may be available at independent shops. Of course, more experienced mechanics typically earn higher wages, so be sure to verify the reliability of a particular shop by getting recommendations and checking previous customer complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

Ask for Aftermarket Auto Parts

Many auto shops recommend the use of original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) products. These components are the same that were installed at the factory when the vehicle was new. However, many parts manufacturers offer comparable aftermarket components at a discount price. In general, these products provide adequate performance and may save you plenty of money in the long run. Keep in mind, however, that some of these products come with shorter warranties and may not last as long as OEM parts.

Do Routine Maintenance

While routine maintenance costs money in the short-term, it can also save thousands of dollars in the long-term. Skimping on such repairs as oil changes, air filter replacements and tire rotations can all lead to more serious car repairs in the future. Of course, auto repair advice experts know how to score deals on these routine repairs as well. For oil changes and brake servicing, look for discount coupons and advertised price cuts in newspapers or the mail. For tire rotations, the shop you bought your tires from may offer free tire rotations for the life of your tires.

Auto Body Repairs ‐ Things to Consider

Even the safest of drivers has had to deal with auto body repairs at one point or another. Unfortunately, fender benders and parking lot dings happen far too frequently. If a recent collision has left you dealing with auto body damage, then it’s time to contact your insurer and get those repairs taken care of. To minimize your risk for inferior repairs or an inflated price, keep these following things in mind:

Insurance-Approved Repair Shops

When filing your insurance claim, your provider will probably suggest that you have the auto body repairs completed at one of their pre-approved collision centers. The service and pricing at these body shops has met a certain standard, which will likely result in a quick and reliable repair. Additionally, thanks to partnership contracts with the insurance company, these shops often turn out to be the most affordable option. However, due to these discounts, it should be noted that insurance-approved repair shops may be tempted to do nothing more than the bare minimum necessary to complete your repair.

Receive Several Estimates

It is a common fear that auto mechanics take advantage of naive drivers by jacking up the price of car repairs. To eliminate this possibility, it is recommended you receive estimates from several different body shops. A thorough estimate will come in written form and outline the specific cost totals for both parts and labor. If your car is inoperable, and requires towing to the body shop, then you might consider contacting a couple collision centers after receiving an initial estimate. By reviewing the estimated fees listed by a particular shop, a competing shop may be willing to verify whether or not the total estimate sounds fair.

Keep Customer Service in Mind

A body shop should not be picked on price alone. Just as important, is the level of customer service and goodwill offered by a particular shop. Before completing auto body repairs, you might consider using the Better Business Bureau to review a body shop’s credibility. The Better Business Bureau is a trustworthy organization that documents customer complaints and shares a company’s history of complaints with the public. If excessive complaints have been reported for a particular collision center, then it may be best to choose a different location to have your repairs completed.

Auto Interior Repair

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The right course of action for an auto interior repair depends largely on the type of damage and type of material affected. Scrapes, tears, stains and cracking all require different approaches to ensure adequate results. Depending on the type of damage, one of these common auto repair options may be available to you:

Auto Interior Repair Kits

Auto upholstery repair kits are often the least expensive option when it comes to fixing a rip or cigarette burn in car upholstery. Unfortunately, they are also the least effective option. In general, these kits include a plastic adhesive that is placed over the hole and allowed to dry. For effective results, the tear must be rather small. Additionally, great care must be taken when applying the liquid plastic to ensure seamless blending with the surround leather.

Even more difficult, is the fact that the plastic adhesive must be colored by the owner to perfectly match the original color of the seats. As such, unless you have some experience with upholstery repair, it is probably best to leave such repairs to the professionals.

Auto Upholstery Cleaners

For ink stains, foods stains and other types of discoloration, auto upholstery cleaners may be enough to remove the unsightly damage. The type of cleaner you should use depends on the type of fabric of your upholstery (for example, leather conditioning cleaner for leather seats). You might also try using a bit of household liquid detergent and warm water to wash out the stain.

For more stingy stains, it is best to leave the stain removal to a professional. More powerful cleaners may ultimately remove these stains, however the danger of discoloring surrounding and underlying upholstery is a possibility.

Replacing Auto Interior Seats

When auto interior repair is not possible, then it may be necessary to replace the existing component with a new one. In some cases, simply swapping out the upholstery encasement is a possible solution. Otherwise, the entire seat may need to be replaced. Both of these repair processes are fairly straightforward and not very difficult for the experienced auto technician. As a result, the majority of cost associated with such a repair stems from paying for the new parts.

Discount Car Insurance

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Almost every car owner is interested in discount auto insurance, but in reality, this common phrase doesn’t have any specific definition, and almost any insurance company can claim to be a discount car insurance company. Because the word “discount” is applied across the board without any oversight, buyers and drivers must be cautious as frequently a “discount policy” is no better than its pricier counterparts.

The fact that there is no clear “discount car insurance” company or provider doesn’t mean, however, that you should give up on your search for affordable coverage. Discount auto insurance is indeed available if you have a good record and know how to conduct some basic research.

How to Get Discount Car Insurance

The key to getting a great rate on auto insurance is knowing what the major companies want. Although the criteria they apply, such as credit rating, income and driving record, can at times seem arbitrary, using these factors to determine your rates is, for the most, part backed by sound data.

Insurance companies have done extensive risk-analysis studies to determine how to set rates. They have made a number of determinations about various behavior patterns, and use those determinations to set your premiums. For example, insurers have determined that people who drive red cards tend to get into more accidents, statistically, than those whose vehicles are black or silver. It isn’t productive to take such tactics personally, as the insurance carriers are merely trying to protect themselves from assuming undue risk, but it is important to know what these factors are so you can avoid engaging in behaviors that raise your costs.

Finding Discount Auto Insurance

Discount auto insurance can be found from any number of sources, but using the Internet to get quotes on policies is often the easiest and fastest method of shopping for insurance. However, with more companies creating an Internet presence than ever before, there are many factors to consider when comparing online quotes:

  • Start with liability insurance, which is required by all states, and check the various figures against the premiums and deductible you’ve been offered.
  • Compare coverage limits, monthly premiums, deductibles, types of coverage, and discounts offered across policies
  • Read the contracts fully for loopholes and check the financial health of the carrier itself with A&P Best or Moody’s.

Often with simple research such as this, you can secure true discount auto insurance as affordable as it is consistent. Discount auto insurance is most often offered to safe drivers who fit prime demographic criteria, but deals do exist for everyone else if you know where to look. The key is to stick with major providers and do everything you can to make your application as attractive as possible. When all else fails, try pitting competing claims against one another or call an agent willing to negotiate on your behalf. Often, you can find the best discount policy through careful research and comparison, rather than just by purchasing the first so-called discount auto insurance policy you find.

Benefits of Dealership Car Auto Repair

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When it comes to car auto repair, many drivers steer clear of having their vehicles serviced at the dealership. For the most part, this is because dealerships have a reputation of charging higher fees for repairs. While this is true in some cases, there are some benefits to dealership car auto repair that may make it worth considering, we at San Jose Auto Repair make it a promise to our customers to serve with the best services in the class.

San Auto Repair Experience

One of the main benefits of choosing a dealership repair shop over a corner garage is the guaranteed level of service quality. Dealerships are held to exceptionally high service standards and benefit from a training regiment that comes directly from manufacturers. Additionally, technicians at a dealership tend to only work on vehicles of one particular make. This means that you are unlikely to find a mechanic that is more experienced in servicing your type of vehicle than the mechanics at your local dealership.

Availability of Car Repair Parts

Choosing to go to a dealership may result in a faster turnaround time for the repair. This is because dealership garages don’t need to stock components for a variety of different vehicle makes. This narrowed focus on your type of vehicle means that it is more likely for a dealership to have the necessary components for your specific repair on hand. This fact minimizes the possibility for having to wait for parts to be ordered and shipped to the garage.

Additionally, dealerships only work with original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) components. Independent garages, on the other hand, may use aftermarket components that are less expensive and potentially of lower quality. If you prefer that only the highest quality materials be used on your vehicle, then the dealership may be the best option for you.

Warranty Car Repairs

If your vehicle is still under warranty, then taking it to a dealership may be a good idea. This is because some or all of the car auto repair services performed on the vehicle may be covered by the automaker’s warranty package. As a result, choosing to go to the dealership might dramatically reduce your total bill. Dealerships also tend to be the preferred source of servicing for vehicle recalls and service bulletins. Typically, independent shops to not cover warranty repairs.