How to be Part of the Car-Care Experience
Nobody looks forward to taking their vehicle in for service. You do have some control related to the visit. How can you, the owner/driver, make the car care experience better?
It starts with making plans to bring your vehicle in for service. If your vehicle is due for a service that is bigger than an oil change you may want to schedule an appointment. Services will vary depending on the mileage. There are some milestone services that will take more time and cost more money.
The nature of the visit should be determined before you pick up the phone to make that appointment. Your car-care provider can help you figure it out. We have a large number of customers who make an appointment for a service but have no clue what that means.
To compound the confusion, we may not be the facility that serviced it last. An oil change service may take an hour or less. However, if the vehicle actually needs something like a 90k service, that may include a full inspection with spark plugs and timing belt. That job will take all day and will cost significantly more than an oil change service.
You do not want to find this out standing in the repair shop. It is important to understand this information so you can plan accordingly. Planning ahead will help reduce the chaos for everyone.
We also need to understand that a significant component of a service is the inspection. This may uncover some needed repairs such as belts, brakes, tires etc. We also need to accept that as the miles add up some items will need attention. For a major service, it is good to plan for extra time. It is never a good idea to bring in a vehicle for a service the day before you go on vacation or before the young one goes back to college.
What could you do to make the experience easy for your car-care provider? If the process goes smoothly for the service provider it will go good for you too. Use common courtesy. These professional facilities are in business to serve you but can do their job better with your cooperation. Let them know if you cannot make your appointment or will be late.
Be sure to respond to any phone or e-mail messages. A repair facility cannot do any repairs without your authorization. Waiting for you to call back will slow down the process and could affect getting your car back the same day.
When you drop off your vehicle, give the service personnel enough time to check you in and discuss your needs. The Bureau of Automotive Repairs guidelines state that a repair order must be signed with the consumer getting a copy indicating the estimated price. Give them time to do their job properly.
Be aware of what is going on with your car so you can share that information with your repair shop. If your car has a “check engine light” on and you have an appointment for a service, this will throw your shop off a bit. A check engine light indicates some kind of a malfunction is present and will require diagnosis and repair.
By the way, please do not bring your vehicle in with fuel light on! We do not want to run out of gas in your car nor do we want to spend extra time putting gas in your car. This is just common courtesy.
It all starts with keeping up with the maintenance needs of your vehicle(s). Understand what kind of service will be required next. Work with your care-car provider to understand what kind of visit you will be needing.
The maintenance intervals are laid out in the owner’s manual. The manual will also describe the dash warning lights so you can give your car-care provider educated information to help the process. Be part of the car-care process and make your life easier.