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Car Maintenance >> Fall-Winter

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Avoid Car Trouble: Get a Checkup Before it Snows

(NUI) - Don't let your holiday travels be interrupted by a roadside breakdown. Mechanical failure in the wintertime can be deadly, so it's important to have your vehicle checked out thoroughly at a trusted shop before cold weather sets in.

Here are tips on choosing a repair facility from the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the group that tests and certifies automotive technicians.

* Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.

* Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations; consult local consumer groups.

* Arrange for transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based on its location.

* Look for a neat, well- organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.

* Look for a courteous staff, with a service consultant willing to answer all of your questions.

* Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.

* Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.

* Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards.

* Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade-school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification by ASE.

* Look for the ASE sign. ASE is dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear the blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign.

* Once on the road, carry emergency gear: flares, boots, gloves, ice scraper, high-energy snacks, a blanket, shovel, flashlight, tire chains, a few tools, and a cell phone.

Visit www.ase.com for car care tips as well as information about how consumers benefit from voluntary technician certification.





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