* Read the owner’s manual to learn about the vehicle’s systems and components.
* Follow the recommended service schedules.
* Keep a log of all repairs and service.
The technicians may be the experts, but don’t ignore what your vehicle is telling you. Just as you need to describe your symptoms to your physician, be prepared to discuss your vehicle’s aches and pains once you are at the repair shop. Look for:
* Unusual sounds, odors, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge readings.
* Changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage, fluid levels.
* Worn tires, belts, and hoses.
* Problems in handling, braking, steering, vibrations.
* Note when the problem occurs and whether it is constant or periodic. During braking, under acceleration, when the vehicle first starts up or after a few miles of driving?
Once you are at the repair establishment, stay involved; communicate your findings:
* Be prepared to describe any symptoms. In larger shops you’ll probably speak with service consultant rather than with the technician directly.
* Carry a written list of the symptoms that you can give to the technician or service consultant.
* Ask as many questions as you need. Do not be embarrassed to request simple definitions of technical terms.
* Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, course of action, and costs before work begins.
* Before you leave, be sure you understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.
* Leave a telephone number where you can be called.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) was founded in 1972 as a non-profit, independent organization 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 area(s) of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign. Visit www.ase.com for more information.
Courtesy of ARA Content