* Pay attention to your car's performance and take note of any potential red flags, such as unusual sounds, odors, warning lights or gauge readings. Keep a log of all repairs and service.
* When you take your vehicle in, be prepared to describe any problems. Try to note when the problem occurred and whether it is constant or periodic.
* For larger shops, you may wish to carry a written list of the symptoms that you can give to the technician or service consultant.
* Do not suggest a specific repair; let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy.
* Ask questions. Do not be embarrassed to ask for definitions or clarifications.
* Don't rush the service writer or technician to make an on-the-spot diagnosis. However, 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 estimates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.
ASE is a nonprofit 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 insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign.
Visit www.ase.com for seasonal car care tips and more information.