Use Car Repair Manuals To Make Your Own Repairs

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.
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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.
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Finding Quality Auto Body Repair

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.
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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.
Credits: Enlightenme