Car Time – May 2019

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Saving Money on Car Repairs

    You may have noticed that the cost to repair cars has reached significant levels. Modern automobiles are highly engineered and are much more complex than ever before. They require special equipment, training and knowledge to successfully repair or maintain.
    Auto repair is an unwanted expense and can hurt your budget every time something happens. It is natural to try to find ways to keep the costs down. Some car owners are desperate to find affordable repair options. Shopping for the best price for diagnosis does not always get the best results. You should be shopping for a facility you can trust and that has the skills to properly diagnose the problem the first time. 
    Car owners can get frustrated when it comes to finding out what is wrong with their vehicle. There is anxiety as soon as a car develops a problem. How much will it cost is the burning question. Remember that repairing a problem on a car usually is a two-part process.
    First we diagnose the problem, then we fix it. There is usually a fee associated with the proper diagnosis. What alternative diagnosis and repair options are available? Thanks to the Internet, there is a vast amount of information available online. Information in the wrong hands, however, is not always a good thing.
    The average owner/driver will normally not have enough automotive experience or knowledge to confirm the findings. Using the Internet for diagnosis is risky. Professional auto repair technicians have years of training and experience to reach a point of confidence on today’s modern vehicles.
    Journeyman automotive technicians earn a significant living but are underpaid compared to other skilled professionals. Nonetheless, it is hard to compare a professional diagnosis to an Internet guess. It would be considered lucky to properly diagnosis any problem without actually checking out the car first.
    Many owners are looking for the “silver bullet” to solve their car problem. You can save money if it works out, but what if it doesn’t? You basically pay twice, plus the diagnosis time required to properly solve the actual problem. When a customer requests a specific repair to solve a problem based on Internet information, it usually does not work out. It could, but it is risky. There is no silver bullet. There is the skilled process or there is luck. You really need to actually perform the diagnosis on the vehicle to confirm the required repair.
    Buying parts online will potentially offer savings because no repair shop can compete with an online warehouse that does not have the same overhead and often ships parts directly from the manufacturer, skipping the local warehouse process.
    The normal process has the repair shop ordering and installing the parts. They are responsible for ordering the correct parts and they stand behind those parts for a responsible amount of time. They are also responsible for selecting a grade of part that offers the quality and longevity of the original equipment.
    There are options when it comes to ordering parts. Sub-standard parts manufactured overseas usually do not offer the equivalent quality and longevity but do cost less. What if the part ordered online is incorrect or defective? Now you still have a broken car that needs the right part. You have no recourse with the installer. They still need to be paid. A sub-standard radiator, for instance, that leaks after only three years is not a good value. A quality shop will not sell you one of those but they sure seem attractive online.
    The key to saving money is to use a good repair facility and trust them. What is your time and energy worth? It is a better value to have your vehicle repaired in a swift manner knowing it is fixed right and the technicians did their best to give you a quality repair for the best price possible. As usual, I recommend keeping on top of car maintenance and repairs in order to beat the unexpected car repair demon.

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