mechanics http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12790/all en-US 8 Common Car Repair Mistakes That Can Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-car-repair-mistakes-that-can-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-common-car-repair-mistakes-that-can-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_car_trouble_000022274153.jpg" alt="Woman learning common car repair mistakes that can cost her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Until I bought my first new car with my own hard-earned cash, I took my previous, very used cars for granted. Maintenance<em> schmaintenance</em>, I thought &mdash; even though that likely resulted in most of those vehicles straight-up punking out on me. Like, stopping in the middle of the road and never starting again because they had had <em>enough</em>. My dad wasn't happy about it the first time, and he wasn't keen on my negligence the third time around either. Yeah &mdash; it was bad.</p> <p>Of course, I've wised up since my teenage and college days &mdash; if only because the maintenance and repair work comes out of my pocket now. Yet, there are still corners I try to cut here and there, as I'm sure you do, too. The unfortunate result of that frugalness, however, could turn into an even more costly prospect down the road if you're not careful.</p> <p>Take a look at these common <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">car repair</a> mistakes that you'll want to avoid lest you want your wallet running on empty.</p> <h2>1. Using a Discount Mechanic</h2> <p>We all want to save a few bucks on car repairs, especially if what needs to be replaced is already expensive. But just like all doctors and lawyers are not created equal, neither are mechanics &mdash; and it's in your best financial interest to know the difference. My rule of thumb when cost is a concern is generally to go middle of the road &mdash; not the cheapest, not the most expensive, but somewhere in the middle. I compare prices between service providers, consider online reviews, and also ask friends and families for referrals.</p> <p>Rob Infantino, CEO of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.openbay.com/">Openbay</a>, an app to compare, book, and pay for car repairs, seconds that philosophy.</p> <p>&quot;Choose a shop that's convenient to you and that's well rated,&quot; he says. &quot;If you chase the lowest price, you may not necessarily receive quality service. Corroborate the shop reviews on multiple sites, including Google, Openbay, and Yelp. Car repair can be a nuisance, so be sure the job's done once and done well. You don't want to have to head back to have a poor repair job fixed by someone else.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Filling the Engine With the Incorrect Weight/Type of Oil</h2> <p>My problem wasn't necessarily filling my car engines with the incorrect weight or type of oil (because, frankly, I had no idea that even mattered), but rather that I didn't fill the engine with oil very often, if at all. And because of that, you could totally hear me coming from three blocks away.</p> <p>Richard Reina, training director at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.carid.com">CARiD</a>, advises against that practice, of course, but also provides insight on why you ought to mind the oil you're using, especially in terms of weight and type.</p> <p>&quot;While this won't generally cause any catastrophic engine failure, using incorrect oil will cause your engine to run inefficiently and deteriorate over time,&quot; he says. &quot;Make sure to pay attention to the type of oil your vehicle recommends &mdash; synthetic, partial synthetic, or non-synthetic &mdash; and that you use the correct weight (i.e. 10W-30, 0W-40, 5W-20, etc.) for your vehicle and climate, and don't just choose what's on sale.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Skipping the Oil Change Altogether</h2> <p>This is pretty much how I blew up most of my cars' engines, as you've likely gathered by now. Perhaps I assumed the oil change fairy would swoop down in the middle of the night so I didn't have to worry about it? Things are a bit blurry from back then. In hindsight, I could have saved my parents, myself, and my college's campus safety department a world of hassle if I had just taken 30 minutes out of my day a few times a year to pop into a Jiffy Lube.</p> <h2>4. Letting Dirty Filters Go Unchanged</h2> <p>Air and fuel filters are an important part of your car's anatomy that when left unattended can lead to bigger problems. As Bankrate.com puts it, &quot;Dirty air or fuel filters can cause various sensors on a car to fail, resulting in a repair bill of hundreds of dollars. A failed sensor is a common reason for a 'check engine' light to illuminate and also results in the engine misfiring. Ignoring this problem could cause the larger problem of the catalytic converter failing, which would result in the car not passing an emissions inspection until it is repaired at a cost approaching $1,000 for many cars.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Forgoing Scheduled Maintenance</h2> <p>Believe it or not, you car manual has another purpose besides taking up space in your glove compartment. It contains everything you need to know about your car (including some DIY fixes for common car issues that can save you money if you just crack it open), as well as information on when you should have your car inspected and tuned up. Following these instructions gives your car the best chance for maximum longevity &mdash; without costly repairs at every corner &mdash; which, in the long run, can save you thousands of dollars on maintenance and the need to buy a new car prematurely.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting to Rotate Tires and Check Air Pressure</h2> <p>Not rotating your tires or checking your air pressure on a regular basis can cause uneven tread wear and the deterioration of your tires, which leads to many other potential problems including strain on steering and suspension parts (such as tie rod ends), uneven traction, and vibration when driving.</p> <p>&quot;Most shops will rotate your tires for a nominal fee, or you can do this yourself if you have a jack and jack stand at home,&quot; Reina says. &quot;Air pressure can be easily checked at most local gas stations.&quot;</p> <p>And remember, air temperature affects tire inflation, so even if your tires do not leak air, they will still need to be checked as the weather changes throughout the year.</p> <h2>7. Overlooking Wear on Brake Pads</h2> <p>Do people cringe when you turn a corner? Can't figure out what that screeching sound is when you come to a stop sign? That's actually your brakes crying for help, and you should have that looked at before you become a nuisance to your whole neighborhood, or, ya know, have an accident.</p> <p>&quot;By replacing brake pads on a regular basis, you can actually save money since a brake rotor lasts much longer when pads are changed regularly,&quot; Reina says. &quot;If pads are left until they are completely worn, they will scratch and score the rotor. When changing brakes, the most expensive part of the job is the rotors, so preserving them will save money in the long run.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Neglecting Brake, Transmission, and Other Fluids</h2> <p>One word: Antifreeze. I didn't learn it until it was too late, but there's still hope for you. In addition to winterizing your car with antifreeze, however, there are other fluids your car needs besides fuel to run efficiently. You can check your owner's manual for the list of fluids and their respective change schedules to stay on top of things. Most importantly, you can save yourself money on the front <em>and</em> backend by doing it yourself. Most of these fluids are easy to replace by even the most clueless of drivers; I'm living proof. If you're not completely sure what you're doing, ask one of your more rugged friends. They probably know what's up, and they won't mind helping out &mdash; so long as they can laugh at you a little bit first.</p> <p><em>Are there other costly but common car repair mistakes that you'd like to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-car-repair-mistakes-that-can-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cars-you-can-drive-almost-forever">6 Cars You Can Drive (Almost) Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-mechanical-breakdown-insurance-worth-it">Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto repairs brakes engine mechanics tires vehicles Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1534338 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Sites Every Car Owner Needs to Bookmark Now http://www.wisebread.com/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/driving_a_car.jpg" alt="Woman driving a car" title="Woman driving a car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Owning a car is very convenient. From buying groceries to making weekend trips to IKEA, when you own a car, it&rsquo;s a lot easier to get it all done.</p> <p>One thing that does suck is when your car breaks down. Unless you&rsquo;re a car nut, how do you know if you&rsquo;re being scammed? Does a busted Johnson Rod really cost $1,400 to repair? Who knows. That&rsquo;s why so many car owners are at the mercy of unscrupulous mechanics around the country.</p> <p>But if you use these six sites, you&rsquo;ll be able to find someone you can trust and save some money in repairing and maintaining your car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disguise-your-stuff-to-prevent-car-break-ins">Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins</a>)</p> <h2>Facebook</h2> <p>The first thing car owners need is a shop they can trust. You can&rsquo;t stay on top of maintenance and repairs if you don&rsquo;t have a mechanic to take the car to.</p> <p>What better place to start than <a href="http://www.facebook.com">Facebook</a>? Ask your friends and family who they trust and where they&rsquo;ve had good experiences.</p> <p>If a couple people mention the same place, then that&rsquo;s a great place to try.</p> <h2>Yelp</h2> <p>Facebook is a great starting point, but unless you have a million friends (sad trombone noise), the odds are you won&rsquo;t get a ton of feedback on a whole bunch of shops. What <a href="http://www.yelp.com">Yelp</a> does is bring some scale into the equation.</p> <p>Look up each place that&rsquo;s near you or was recommended on Facebook, and see what the rest of the world thinks of it. It&rsquo;s a lot easier to decide between a few places when one has an average of two stars and some horror stories versus another with solid reviews.</p> <h2>Angie&rsquo;s List</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve never used <a href="http://www.angieslist.com/">Angie&rsquo;s List</a> because they charge a membership fee, but I&rsquo;ve heard good things about them. They&rsquo;re kind of like Yelp in that they compile user reviews on different contractor services (including mechanics).</p> <p>If you want to be really thorough or if you&rsquo;re already a member, definitely check out all the shops you&rsquo;re considering on this site.</p> <h2>Repairpal</h2> <p><a href="http://www.repairpal.com">Repairpal</a> will take your make, model, zip code, and specific type of repair and spit out a range of what it might cost to get the repair done. They also break it down by parts and labor.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s like getting a second opinion in two minutes, and it&rsquo;s awesome.</p> <p>Granted, these are estimates. But they do take your location into account, so they shouldn&rsquo;t be too far off. The way they compile their data is <a href="http://repairpal.com/methodology">pretty thorough</a>, so this is a really good resource.</p> <p>If a shop&rsquo;s estimate is way off, ask them why and mention you&rsquo;ve gotten a second opinion...they may have a valid answer. And they may not...</p> <p>Another cool feature is that you can create an account and save all the information on your car. You can keep track of when your next oil change is due, any work done to the car, etc. Staying on top of your regular maintenance is HUGE if you want to save money by preventing bigger problems from developing.</p> <p>You can also try <a href="http://www.automd.com/">AutoMD</a> and <a href="http://www.driverside.com/">DriverSide</a> to get additional estimates on a repair.</p> <h2>Carmaker&rsquo;s Website</h2> <p>For one reason only &mdash; they&rsquo;ll usually have the car&rsquo;s manual available online. I know people <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/read-the-manual-stupid/">don&rsquo;t like reading manuals</a>, but I recently discovered something pretty interesting when it comes to cars &mdash; everything you need to know is in the manual.</p> <p>I was trying to figure out if some of the repairs the dealership had quoted me were B.S. or not, and everything I read pointed to one source &mdash; the manual.</p> <ul> <li>How often should I change the oil?</li> <li>Do I really need to change the air filter?</li> <li>What maintenance should I do at 90,000 miles?</li> </ul> <p>All this stuff is in the manual. Forget about what the &ldquo;experts&rdquo; say &mdash; don&rsquo;t you think the people that actually built the thing would know better?</p> <h2>iTunes/Android Market</h2> <p>Apps are cool. We love apps. So what better way to stay on top of your repairs and checkups?</p> <p>No one likes spending the time and money to get a car checked out when nothing obvious is wrong, but regular maintenance can keep your car running longer and better. So why not get all your car&rsquo;s information loaded up into an <a href="http://www.apple.com/itunes/">iPhone</a> or <a href="https://market.android.com/">Android</a> app? That way the app can tell you when to get the tires rotated, the oil changed, and all that good stuff.</p> <p>For the iPhone, I like <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/car-minder-plus-car-maintenance/id310809791?mt=8" target="_blank">Car Minder Plus</a>, and for Android <a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zonewalker.acar&amp;feature=search_result" target="_blank">aCar</a> is a good free one &mdash; although I use <a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.cooloy.OilChangeSchedulePro&amp;feature=search_result" target="_blank">Car Maintenance Reminder Pro</a> ($1.99).</p> <p>These six sites should help you find a place you can trust and stay on top of your regular maintenance. That alone should save you a fair amount of money and stress. For more ways to save, check out these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">six tools to save money on car repairs</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation car repair maintenance mechanics websites Thu, 16 Jun 2011 10:24:12 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 582091 at http://www.wisebread.com Back the Truck Up: How to Avoid Car Repair Rip-Offs http://www.wisebread.com/back-the-truck-up-how-to-avoid-car-repair-rip-offs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/back-the-truck-up-how-to-avoid-car-repair-rip-offs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000003480641XSmall.jpg" alt="Auto mechanic" title="Auto mechanic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The colder temperatures and inclement weather may signal the need for a checkup at the mechanic shop. Auto repair shops are infamous for overcharging customers who don&rsquo;t know any better and only want their vehicles to operate reliably and safely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/safety-tips-for-holiday-driving">Safety Tips for Holiday Driving</a>.)</p> <p>While not all shops deserve a bad reputation, there are quite a few with a history of taking people for more money than necessary. Just recently, my 2004 Kia acquired a hole in the exhaust system. The noise coming from the car resembled a loud motorcycle, and I was embarrassed every time I turned on the ignition. We finally had to break down and visit the repair shop for an estimate. We were told after a brief &quot;look-see-listen&quot; that the part alone would be close to $1,000 and with labor, we may face a bill of $1,300 or more. We made a scheduled appointment to bring the car back, and in the meantime consulted with a mechanic friend. He told us he thought he could repair the part rather than replace it, and eventually we only had to pay a total of $124 for the weld job. Thank goodness we had someone on our side.</p> <p>While not every mechanic is out to intentionally swindle a customer, there are still some precautionary measures one should take when dealing with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">auto repair</a> companies in order to save money. Here are some tips to prevent being overcharged, underserviced, and scared into services you don&rsquo;t even need.</p> <h3>Find Reputable Shops</h3> <p>You want to select a mechanic shop that is licensed in the state and certified by the ASE or AAA. Get referrals from friends and family too.</p> <h3>Check It Out</h3> <p>When you get to the shop, check out the condition of the equipment in the garage, and how the garage looks in general. An outdated, unkempt garage may be a red flag for the competency and expectations of the shop. If you come across a shop owner who says he doesn't need the latest equipment to get the job done, you might want to consider finding someone else to do the work.</p> <h3>Refuse to Sign Blank Documents</h3> <p>For any type of work you plan on having done, make sure you only sign off on work orders that have specific job instructions and price estimates. Any work outside the scope of the original order should have to go through you first. Never sign any forms that are blank or that don&rsquo;t contain pertinent information.</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t Fall for Dramatics</h3> <p>If you are told by the mechanic that essentially your car is on its last leg when you are pretty sure the problem is only minor, you should reconsider your choice in mechanics. If you are not mechanically savvy, find a friend who can accompany you to the appointment to make it less likely you&rsquo;ll get suckered into paying for services your vehicle doesn&rsquo;t need. Some unprofessional individuals will use scare tactics and &quot;family safety&quot; points to hook you for more services and money.</p> <h3>For Big Jobs, Consult with the Dealer</h3> <p>If you find that something major is wrong with your vehicle such as the emission system, it is a good idea to check back at the place you purchased the vehicle to find out about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extended-car-warranties-three-things-to-know">warranty</a>. Some parts of vehicles' major systems are covered by long warranties, and in some cases, part replacement is required by law to be free.</p> <h3>Get a Second Opinion</h3> <p>After you have received a rough idea of how much it will cost to get your vehicle fully operational, it never hurts to get a second opinion. If you do seek another&rsquo;s advice, make sure to keep your lips zipped about your previous estimates and work order. You never want to influence your back-up opinion provider.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-the-truck-up-how-to-avoid-car-repair-rip-offs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs car repairs mechanics rip offs scams Tue, 07 Dec 2010 14:00:15 +0000 Tisha Tolar 359997 at http://www.wisebread.com